22 October 2016

Brutalism, love it or hate it

Walthamstow has very little in the way of seventies concrete architecture, which a lot of people think is a good thing, but there is renewed interest in the Brutalist architecture of the period. For example, there is a thriving Brutalist Appreciation Society on Facebook, as well as books and exhibitions on the subject. Most of the old residential towers in Walthamstow have been demolished, and there are only a few buildings that fit into the category. In the whole of Walthamstow there are just two proper high-rise towers left, both of them transformed by a facelift in an extravagant postmodern style dating, at a guess, from the early nineties. In both cases the facelift itself looks dated now, but I suspect most local people would prefer that to the raw concrete original.

This abstract mural panel is a remnant that didn't get the postmodern treatment, part of the boundary wall of the St David's Court tower. There are two long panels on the corner of Wood Street and Forest Road, looking a little lost in a landscaped left-over patch, along with a fake Victorian clock and a circular planter, a space that's not really doing anything useful (but on the plus side, it's not just adverts and fly tipping). The cement panels remain as a reminder of the seventies craze for all things concrete.

Coming soon, more on the Brutalist style and what’s left of it in E17.