Top positive review
31 people found this helpful
Read this. Now.
on 19 July 2012
This a superbly well written book in which Hatherley visits a series of UK cities in the manner of a 21st century Pevsner with strong hints of Meades, Priestly and Nairn, commenting with wit, disdain and sometimes pleasure on the good, the bad and the frankly awful buildings he finds. Much of the text is devoted to the badly designed, poorly specified and shoddily built - yet extremely expensive - tat that has disfigured so many cities in the last 20 - 30 years. Thatcherite greed followed by, er, Blairite greed. Will there be a Cameron-Clegg architecture? Let's hope not. Hatherley heaps derision on bar coded windows, stuck-on metal panels and the microscopic size of most new housing. He slates the sheer nastiness of the malls and the out-of-town sheds and pulls no punches when discussing who is to blame for all this. There are spirited defences, too, of the better buildings from the post war period and a passionate (sorry for the cliché) appeal to the idea of the city. How sad it is to see that the Olympic opening ceremony (always rubbish, I agree) is to represent Britain as some sort of puerile rural fantasy!
The only criticism I can make is that of the book itself. I mean here, the physical object and not the text. The pictures are atrociously printed; the paper cheap and why is it that a writer who so clearly believes in Britain as a `maker' has had his book printed in Sweden? That aside I wait eagerly for the next book.