By Owen Hatherley
A darkly funny architectural advisor 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 lower than successive Conservative governments. Over the subsequent decade, British towns turned the laboratories of the recent firm economic climate: sparkling monuments to finance, estate hypothesis, and the carrier industry—until the crash.
In A advisor to the recent 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 purchasing shops, name facilities and factories became dear lofts. In doing so, he offers a mordant observation at the city setting during which we are living, paintings and devour. Scathing, forensic, bleakly funny, A consultant to the recent Ruins of significant Britain is a coruscating post-mortem of a get-rich-quick, aspirational politics, a super, architectural "state we're in." 250 black-and-white images and illustrations
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Additional info for A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain
It was not always so mediocre; sometimes the Southampton built in the 1950s and 1960s could be positively dramatic. Leon Berger’s work took ‘mixed development’ to an occasionally preposterous extreme. A one-storey house next to a three-storey block of flats next to an eighteen-storey tower, Berger’s Shirley Estate exemplifies what is striking about this architecture. I used to look at this place with some awe as a teenager, Bowie’s ‘Warszawa’ running round in my head. This is appropriate, as Polish is now heard almost as often in Shirley as English, in a town which has always had a large Eastern European contingent—I propose a twinning of S»uóew and Thornhill.
Its environs are one of the few places where you can get some idea of what the first skyscrapers might have been like, in that the two-storey surroundings are dominated by something four times their height, and nothing has really attempted to follow it in the immediate area, so it still suggests an imminent departure for somewhere more exciting, frozen in time. If the Terminus Station were reopened, then the city’s centre of gravity would be shifted from a gigantic retail park to a disparate, complex city, near to the depressed council estates of Northam, St Mary’s and Holy Rood, the (small but quite lovely) walled town, and some attempts at civic architecture courtesy of Cunard, White Star and the South-Western Railway.
Southampton Container Port is officially known as ‘DP World Southampton’. It is 51 per cent owned by DP World, which is itself owned by Dubai World, the insolvent state-run conglomerate. The other 49 per cent is owned by Associated British Ports, denationalized in the early 1980s and now largely owned by Goldman Sachs. That these institutions would have little interest in Southampton itself is again deeply unsurprising. Dubai World rationalized the port still further throughout the 2000s, introducing more automation and decimating the already tiny workforce.
A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain by Owen Hatherley