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Neo Georgian - look again

Neo Georgian, one of the most maligned of architectural styles, is being reassessed. Neo-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970: a reappraisal, edited by Julian Holder and Elizabeth McKellar, brings to light many examples of the period, showing how sensitive, robust and practical these buildings could be, and the vision of civilised life they aim to promote.

The Sir Malcolm Stewart Trust Common Room, Stewartby, by Sir Albert Richardson

The Provost's Lodging at Queen's College, Oxford, by Raymond Erith

Two examples illustrate the originality and ingenuity of these architects. The common room at Stewartby artfully combines Regency-derived elegance and lightness of touch in the enclosing portico with a simple practical brick box forming the actual building envelope. In his Provost's Lodging at Oxford Raymond Erith used the rustication of the lower part of the front wall as a metaphorical means of carrying on the rubble wall of the adjacent garden across his new facade, integrating the house and its setting.

The roots of Neo-Georgian design lie in the late nineteenth century architects' rediscovery of the work of Wren and his contemporaries, seen most particularly in the work of Lutyens. The pleasure of this book is in its uncovering of a host of lesser known works by the subsequent generation, including figures such as Vincent Harris and Albert Richardson. These provide an alternative view of twentieth century architecture in Britain, showing that Modernism did not (quite) carry all before it.

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