Grey Room

Prejudice and Pragmatism: The Commercial Architect in the Development of Postwar London

Amy Thomas


Much of the history of London’s development in the postwar period has focused on the output of the architectural avant-garde. In particular, historians have examined the influence of European discussions of urban planning, housing, and public building on the reconstruction of the capital, and the extent to which approaches adopted by British architects were commensurate with the postwar ideological formulation of the welfare state. During this period, an extraordinarily high number of architects—roughly half at its peak—worked for the state. The international renown of many of these practitioners has ensured that this state-sponsored work has been well documented. But what of the other half?