Little love for Lasdun

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Denys Lasdun: apartments

Dalrymple does not have much time for Denys Lasdun (1914-2001):

I doubt whether a worse architect…has ever lived. To design uglier buildings than his would be a stimulant to the imagination worthy of a prize competition.

Lasdun loved concrete, and

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Denys Lasdun: theatre

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Denys Lasdun: college

his designs were as dehumanising as any dictator’s decree….Dehumanising cities with hideous concrete buildings is bad. One suspects a generalised or epidemic spiritual sickness….Architects of Lasdun’s times mistook destruction for creation….Bad buildings are…noxious…but inescapable. An author has a right to his badness, but not an architect.

Dalrymple suspects that those who claim to like Lasdun apply

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Denys Lasdun: offices

extra-aesthetic considerations, such as that they were at the cutting edge in the way Lister was at the cutting edge of the surgery of his time. They indulge also in an architectural variant of Macbeth’s logic: that past architectural crimes are so heinous one has to continue them or admit them.

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