By Owen Hatherley
A darkly funny architectural consultant to the decrepit new Britain that neoliberalism built.
Back in 1997, New Labour got here to energy amid a lot speak of regenerating the internal towns left to rot less than successive Conservative governments. Over the following decade, British towns grew to become the laboratories of the recent firm economic system: gleaming monuments to finance, estate hypothesis, and the provider industry—until the crash.
In A consultant to the hot Ruins of serious Britain, Owen Hatherley units out to discover the wreckage—the structures that epitomized an age of greed and aspiration. From Greenwich to Glasgow, Milton Keynes to Manchester, Hatherley maps the derelict Britain of the 2010s: from riverside condominium complexes, paintings galleries and amorphous interactive "centers," to buying department stores, name facilities and factories became dear lofts. In doing so, he presents a mordant observation at the city surroundings during which we are living, paintings and eat. Scathing, forensic, bleakly funny, A consultant to the recent Ruins of serious Britain is a coruscating post-mortem of a get-rich-quick, aspirational politics, an excellent, architectural "state we're in." 250 black-and-white pictures and illustrations
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Additional info for A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain
I will begin, then, with the environment that did most to shape me. ’ This is how J. B. Priestley opens English Journey, and so begin the accounts of sundry other English travellers from the Edwardian era up to the 1970s. Until Heathrow replaced it, Southampton was where most visitors or returning travellers entered the country. Now, however, the main entities to land at and depart from Southampton are consumer goods, manufactured in China, unloaded at the city’s Container Port, and freighted round the country by rail and lorry.
In the 1980s its vastness meant that, unlike Liverpool or London, it could accommodate containerization with ease. It’s also damn hard to see, at least from the Southampton side of the River Test, because you’re not meant to see it. It’s an incredible sight, but it’s never going to be on Southampton City Council’s Heritage Ships seen from Mayflower Park 26 southampton: terminus city itinerary—and unless you have a pass, you won’t ever see it up close. The cranes induce the morbid thrill of seeing our replacements.
In Soft City, an early psychogeographic study marked by a very early 1970s paranoia, Jonathan Raban accidentally found himself in a standard exemplar of the British transformation of Corbusian utopia into dystopia. A planned satellite suburb on the edges of Southampton, a ‘vast, cheap storage unit for nearly 20,000 people’, Millbrook seemed to be the perfect embodiment of well-meaning failure, producing an isolated and disturbing new landscape. Architecturally, Millbrook is not too bad—the towers, especially, by the Tyneside firm Ryder & Yates, are clever, patterned things—but in terms of planning it’s as desolate now as it no doubt was in 1974, and the pitched roofs on the lower blocks don’t lessen the effect; today they’re as disconnected as ever.
A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain by Owen Hatherley