While the concrete shows the signs of wear and tear the architectural detail is clear to see © Lorenzo Zandri
I love the weight of it, the honesty of its structure, the interplay of light and the possibilities it offers for a different way of living.
I grew up surrounded by Regency architecture (Cheltenham Spa) and in my innocence I loved the elegant façade. I’m not sure that I really thought about what might have gone on architecturally behind the attractive frontages. The relationship between the façade and the construction was not an architectural question that troubled me. The façades were a stage set – the backdrop to ‘promenading’.Angular, architectural shapes in the stairways and corridors. © Lorenzo Zandri
A day trip to London as a student changed things. I stumbled across the Brunswick Centre and was smitten. I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t think I reflected very deeply on why I was so taken with the development, but I knew that I found it much more exciting as a proposition.The refurbished plaza at the heart of the Centre now beautifully redesigned and lit. © Levitt Bernstein
I wasn’t party to the debates and disagreements about what was demolished to make way for the Centre so I just enjoyed it for what it was and is – a massive sculpture. The Brunswick Centre couldn’t be further from a façade. I love the weight of it, the honesty of its structure, the interplay of light and the possibilities it offers for a different way of living. It feels as if the blueprint for a village from a long-forgotten culture has been adapted for the twentieth century and ‘dropped’ into an unsuspecting London streetscape.Housing above the commercial section has been carefully restored © Levitt Bernstein
It is no surprise that it had a frosty reception but it is hugely satisfying that it is now enjoying a revival. For some, I suspect the recent alterations have betrayed the Brunswick Centre’s Brutalist credentials but I am just relieved it is still here to remind me of an architectural epiphany.The upgraded apartments of The Brunswick, now painted cream as was originally intended. © Levitt Bernstein