Benton, Charlotte: A DIFFERENT WORLD: EMIGRE ARCHITECTS IN BRITAIN 1928 – 1958. London: Wiley Press Ltd., 1995.

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Charlotte Benton, David Elliott and Elain Harwood [essays]

Charlotte Benton, David Elliott and Elain Harwood [essays]: A DIFFERENT WORLD: EMIGRE ARCHITECTS IN BRITAIN 1928 - 1958. London: Wiley Press Ltd., 1995. First edition. Square quarto. Thick photo illustrated wrappers. 232 pp. 126 126 black-and-white illustrations. Interior unmarked and very clean. Out-of-print. Wrappers with trivial shelf wear.  A nearly fine copy.

8.25 x 8 soft cover book with 232 pages with 126 black-and-white illustrations. Published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name: RIBA Heinz Gallery, London [November 23, 1995 - January 20, 1996].

Extremely cool book that offers an intimate look at the blossoming modern architecture scene in England before the outbreakof World War II. Lots of unusual material, rarely (if ever) shown in other anthologies. Highly recommended.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Illustration Credits
  • Preface
  • A Different World: Emigre Architects in Britain 1928 - 1958 by Charlotte Benton
  • Gropius in England: A Documentation 1934 - 1937 by David Elliott
  • A Gazetteer of Buildings in the London Area by Elain Harwood
  • Biographies
  • Notes
  • Appendices

Artists and architects include Erich Mendelsohn, Peter Behrens, C. L. P. Franck, Frederick  Hermann, Berthold Lubetkin, Erno Goldfinger, F. Marcus, H. Rosenthal, Michael Rosenauer, Marcel Breuer, Ernst Freud, Eugene Karl Kaufmann, F. Gross, Walter Gropius, Maxwell Fry, Serge Chermayeff, Peter Moro, Tecton, Fritz Landauer, Egon Riss, Hans Biel, H. S. Jaretzkl, Rudolf Karl Jelinek, Eugene Rosenberg, Fritz Ruhemann, Walter Segal, Hans Biel, Stefan Buzos, Peter Caspari, George Fejer, Carl Ludwig Phillipp Franck, Rudolf Frankel, Erwin Anton Gutkind, Gunther Hoffstead, Arthur Korn, Heinrich Kulka, Laszlo Peri and Walter Segal among others.

In 1937 Henry Russell Hitchcock, Jr., wrote "The International Exhibition of Modern Architecture held at the Museum of Modern Art five years ago consisted in the main of buildings in France, Holland, Germany and America, England was barely represented.

“Today, it is not altogether an exaggeration to say that England leads the world in modern architectural activity Modern architecture had won a foothold in England as in America before the depression began, but the newer English architecture of the late twenties reflected chiefly a European half-modernism already past its prime.

"International Style” is peculiarly descriptive of the current English architecture scene. To London, even before the depression showed signs of lifting, Lubetkin came, drawn from Paris where construction had all but ceased. Later Gropius, Mendelsohn, Breuer and Kaufmann, to mention but the best known, came from Germany after the revolution of 1933 cut off in its prime the largest and most materially successful school of modern architecture in the world. Lescaze, from America was also active in England from 1931 on. Yet, for all its international personnel, the English school of architecture must not be considered an alien phenomenon. It is artificial and misleading to make a sharp distinction between the current work of the foreign-born architects and that of men like Connell, Ward and Lucas, or Wells Coates, who themselves owe their architectural principles ultimately to the Continent. The English school of modern architecture may therefore be fairly considered as a coherent entity. . . .

"Since English modern Architecture has developed in a period of economic recovery, the types of building which the architects have been asked to provide have rarely been of advanced sociological interest. Middle-class houses and apartments, large stores, recreational structures, casinos, cinemas, zoos, schools and factories, rather than low-cost housing, have been demanded. Since the practice of modern architecture is concentrated in London, its patrons have been chiefly metropolitan but not mainly of foreign origin. While it would be absurd to say that the predominant conservatism of English taste had been basically modified, the public support of modern building seems assured. The British public has proved effectively open-minded in patronizing modern architecture. One might now hope that the general esthetic forces of the nation may soon be educated and mustered for a solid front. Then the good work of the past would still receive its due—which it does not always today—and the good work of the present would be supported against blatant revivalism, sickly traditionalism, and pseudo-modernism.

"The work of the English contemporary school in the last few years, still so evidently expanding and improving, sets a mark which we will not easily pass in America. It sets that mark, moreover, under cultural conditions more like our own than those of most other countries of the world. We can understand what the obstacles have been in the way of these men, what temptations to compromise, what general distrust, what whimsical building regulations, what indifference to earlier national steps toward modern architecture they have had to overcome. The psychology of recovery is generally conservative rather than experimental, and in a world of rising nationalistic prejudice England's hospitality not only to Continental ideas but to foreign architects has been amazing One can end a consideration of English architecture in the winter of 1937 not merely with the conclusion that its present achievement is almost unique and could hardly have been foretold even five years ago. One can also prognosticate that this achievement very probably represents the opening stage in an architectural development of prime creative significance."