Denys Lasdun Architect, 20th Century English Building Photos, England, Designs, Info, Images
Denys Lasdun, Architect : Architecture
Modern British Architecture, UK
post updated 19 Apr 2021
Denys Lasdun Architect News
7 Nov 2012
Architect Sir Denys Lasdun’s archive now available to the public at the RIBA
The cataloguing and conservation of the unique archive of the late Sir Denys Lasdun (1914-2001) has been completed by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The full Lasdun Archive is now available to all and can be explored by arrangement with the RIBA and via the British Architecture Library online catalogue at http://riba.sirsidynix.net.uk/uhtbin/webcat.
Content from the Denys Lasdun Archive will be used for the new website Lasdun Online, to be hosted on the RIBA’s website www.architecture.com. Funded by the Graham Foundation and curated by Dr Barnabas Calder, Lasdun Online will go live in summer 2014, and will offer a fully comprehensive illustrated list of Lasdun’s projects built and unbuilt, accompanied by analytical essays.
Sir Denys Lasdun was one of the leading architects of the 1960s, with projects including the National Theatre (1964-76), the University of East Anglia (1963-9) and the Royal College of Physicians in Regent’s Park (1958-64). Sir Denys Lasdun died in 2001, following which his family formally deposited his full archive with the RIBA British Architectural Library and in 2006 work began on its conservation and cataloguing.
Featuring architectural models, papers, drawings, photographs, film and audio, the archive offers an exceptional insight into the work of Lasdun and into the society, culture and politics of the second half of the twentieth century. It includes material relating to his early architectural thinking, to the fights over his proposal for tall science towers in central Cambridge and even the occasion when, whilst designing a museum in Ghana, he was bitten by a stallion he was riding along a beach, nearly losing the use of his hand.
Lasdun’s career began in the earliest years of Modernism in 1930s London, working for pioneering architects Berthold Lubetkin and Wells Coates, and continued through to the 1990s. In the 1950s he produced a series of exciting and widely published buildings for the British welfare state, including housing in Bethnal Green and a school in Paddington.
Throughout the 1960s Lasdun was widely admired by his peers and he turned down more work than he accepted to keep his practice small enough to retain personal control over all design decisions.
Highlights of the Denys Lasdun Archive include:
– Correspondence with figures who shaped Britain after 1945, including actors and theatre directors (Laurence Olivier and Peter Hall), politicians (James Callaghan, Keith Joseph, Arnold Goodman and Jennie Lee), art and architecture specialists (Frances Yates, Nikolaus Pevsner and Ernst Gombrich), and architects from Le Corbusier to Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid
– Photographs by leading photographers of the day including John Donat, John Havinden, Richard Einzig, Ezra Stoller and Richard Bryant
– Beautiful presentation models of his buildings, including a 2m-wide model of an unbuilt 1965 scheme for the National Theatre and Opera House, showing its context on London’s South Bank
– Lasdun’s office and personal papers – notes of the discussions, phone calls and chance meetings that shaped each project’s development, of the kind that normally disappear from the record
– Drawings which show the development of his designs from initial sketches through to their final form
– Film and audio material (much of which has been digitised) bringing to life the charismatic voice of Lasdun and those of his contemporaries.
The Lasdun Archive cataloguing was funded by donors including Morton Neal, the late Malcolm MacAlpine, the Headley Trust, the Drue Heinz Trust, the RIBA Library Trust, the Rayne Foundation, the Rothschild Foundation, the Royal College of Physicians and the European Investment Bank.
The Denys Lasdun Archive is held at the RIBA Drawings & Archives Collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the RIBA Photographs Collection at 66 Portland Place, W1. To book an appointment regarding the archive telephone 020 7307 3708 (Drawings & Archives), or 020 7307 3642 (Photographs). The archive is available via the RIBA’s online library catalogue at: http://riba.sirsidynix.net.uk/uhtbin/webcat
The cataloguing of the Denys Lasdun Archive was carried out by Suzanne Waters and Barnabas Calder.
For more information about the V&A + RIBA partnership visit http://www.vam.ac.uk/architecture.
Key Projects by the Architect
Denys Lasdun Building Photos
Photographs © Adrian Welch, taken on 17 Sep 2011
Keeling House, Bethnal Green, London
Denys Lasdun Building News
University of East Anglia Student Accommodation – Refurbishment
RH Partnership, Cambridge: £6m
Denys Lasdun – Brief Overview
Denys Lasduns’ best project is the Royal College of Physicians off Regents Park London. Unlike the South Bank Centre and East Anglia University this is a project which is powerful without being aggressive. Beautifully expressed, a strong programme and easily read from the outside this is classic English Modernism. Projects like the South Bank Centre create strong opinion but the acres of brutal concrete are thin gruel for the brain and have not stood the test of time, unrelieved at street level and abrasive.
South Bank Centre, London, facing the River Thames:
photo © Adrian Welch
South Bank Centre London
Projects by Denys Lasdun
Christ’s College New Court, Cambridge, England
Dates built: 1966-70
Christs College Cambridge
This structure lies in the hinterland of Christ’s College.
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, England, UK
Dates built: 1959-60 (-67)
photo © Adrian Welch
Fitzwilliam College building
Milton Gate, Chiswell St, City of London
Date built: 1990
Design: Denys Lasdun Peter Softley & Associates
More projects by Denys Lasdun online soon
Denys Lasdun Buildings
Designs by architect Denys Lasdun, alphabetical:
Bethnal Green housing, Usk St, London
Christ’s College – New Court, Cambridge, England
European Investment Bank – Phase 1, Luxembourg
European Investment Bank Extension, Luxembourg
Fitzwilliam College, Huntingdon Rd, Cambridge, England
Hallfield Primary School, Paddington, London
Institute of Education, Bedford Way, Bloomsbury, London
Keeling House + Bradley House, Claredale St, Bethnal Green, east London
Royal College of Physicians, London
Royal National Theatre, London
St James’ Place, West End, London
School of Oriental and African Studies Library – Philips Building, Bloomsbury, London
Student Halls, Nottingham University, Nottingham, England
The Charles Wilson building, University of Leicester, England
The Lasdun Building, University of Leicester, England
University of East Anglia Campus, Norwich, England
University Sports Centre, Oxford Road, Liverpool, England
More architectural projects by Denys Lasdun online soon
Location: London, UK
English Architects Practice Information
Former English architect studio
Denys Lasdun – Winner of RIBA Gold Medal 1977
Cambridge Architects – Alphabetical list of all featured designers
Comments / photos for the Denys Lasdun Architecture page welcome