Lubetkin and Goldfinger: British high-rise council housing

Lubetkin and Goldfinger: The Rise and Fall of British High-Rise Council Housing Architecture Book, English Architects Publication

Lubetkin and Goldfinger: The Rise and Fall of British High-Rise Council Housing

5 June 2023

To be published on: 28 June 2023

Nicholas Russell’s authoritative book about the lives and careers of two architects of high-rise council housing following the Second World War. Lubetkin and Goldfinger: The Rise and Fall of British High-Rise Council Housing is due to be published on the 28th June 2023.

ubetkin and Goldfinger: The Rise and Fall of British High-Rise Council Housing

Lubetkin and Goldfinger: The Rise and Fall of British High-Rise Council Housing Book News

Berthold Lubetkin and Ernö Goldfinger were two leading architects who designed high-rise council housing after the Second World War; a type of building that now holds a poor reputation.

Lubetkin built one of the earliest post-war estates in London, Spa Green in Finsbury, while Goldfinger designed the last and most notorious council block in the city, Trellick Tower in North Kensington. Both architects were communist migrants from central Europe who shared much in common but were rivals who disliked each other. Their reputations suffered with the decline of their buildings and from their sometimes-unpleasant personalities. But they were both idealists, dedicated to building the best possible homes for ordinary people.

Lubetkin and Goldfinger aims to shine a light on the overlooked work of these two visionary architects and give them credit where duly deserved.

Nicholas Russell was a university reader in Science Communication and a college lecturer in Biology and History of Technology. Having had a lifelong interest in art and design, he now works as a heritage volunteer and spent several seasons as a National Trust guide at Erno Goldfinger’s house in Hampstead. His book on industrial invention and design through a history of the manufacturing firm Russell Hobbs, Household Names, was published in 2021. Nicholas lives in Bath.

Nicholas says, “Volunteering as a tour guide for the National Trust at Erno Goldfinger’s house in Hampstead led me to explore his life and the modernist architecture he practised. It became clear that he had almost a doppelganger in another communist migrant of the same age, background, political affiliation and ambition, with elements of their education and training in common; Berthold Lubetkin. Their ideals led them to design high-quality, high-rise council housing for ordinary people. The parallels suggested a joint biography might be interesting.”

He continues, “The ongoing public distaste for high-rise council blocks and the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire disaster have been a contrast to the revival in high-rise domestic apartment block building during the twenty-first century, now for private sale or rent rather than as social housing.

Symbolic of this change was the expensive modernisation of Goldfinger’s 1960s Balfron Tower with flats changed from social housing to apartments for sale. This led me (and many others) to look at the evidence for the conventional wisdom that the failure of mid-twentieth century council blocks was the fault of the architects who designed them. It turned out to be more complex than that.”

Author Nicholas Russell:
Author Nicholas Russell

Publication date: 28th June 2023
ISBN 9781915603746
Price £9.99

Berthold Lubetkin Architect + Ernö Goldfinger Architect

Book Guild – Publisher

The Book Guild Ltd is a well-established independent book publishing company based in Leicestershire, which has been publishing books in all subjects for over 30 years. The Book Guild is an imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd.
Website: bookguild.co.uk

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