The Building Centre first opened its doors in New Bond Street, London on 7 September 1932, having been established a year earlier as a building materials bureau within the Architectural Association. In 1941 the New Bond Street building was destroyed in the Blitz and so a brief move to Conduit Street was necessary, before the Building Centre moved to its current home at Store Street, Bloomsbury, in 1951.
In 1963 the Built Environment Trust was established to enable charitable activities and deliver a programme of public engagement. Our mission is to be a facilitator within the wider community and create links between individual people, industry leaders and politicians to collaborate on how best to effect change in the built environment. We offer a unique position as a meeting point – both literally and figuratively – for all aspects of the built environment.
"The difference between good and bad architecture is the time you spend on it.”David Chipperfield
To celebrate our 90th Anniversary, and true to our mission to inspire, connect and empower, the Trust brought to life a major initiative, ‘90for90’ which celebrated the last 90 years of the built environment throughout the UK.
We invited 90 leading figures from across Britain – from architects, engineers, planners and developers to actors, architectural historians, photographers, broadcasters, writers and artists – to select their favourite examples of our nation’s built environment.
Each contributor was asked to select what, for them, had a special significance, and their choices create a fascinating snapshot of the built environment over the past 90 years. Their choices ranged from theatres to public houses, refurbished industrial buildings to transport hubs, iconic structures to high tech offices, a sculpture parks to a retrofitted hospital, art galleries to sporting venues. Some of the choices are world famous, others are comparatively unknown.
Each selectors’ text was accompanied by images of their selection, together with practical information outlining some of the technical details of their choice.
We hope you enjoy reading about them.
"Context is so important, not to mimic... but to become part of the place.”David Adjaye
This is not just about buildings – the built environment is so much more than that. Our contributors were free to choose urban green spaces, sculpture parks, iconic structures, repurposed industrial buildings, public buildings, public houses, libraries, galleries, theatres, places of worship. The only criterion is that it must be something that resonated strongly with them.
"Architecture is really about well-being. On the one hand it's about shelter, I think that people want to feel good in a space... but it's also about pleasure.”Zaha Hadid