Skip to content | Accessibility Information

Brook, R., 2017.

Manchester Modern

Output Type:Book
Publisher:The Modernist Society

The research to produce this book was conducted over a period of 20 years (1996-2016). It was formed from a combination of field visits, archival work, interviews and secondary sources. The book presents 111 buildings of the modern era in the Greater Manchester area. Each building was visited at least 3 times to view the exteriors, interiors and to speak to the stakeholders. This approach brought to light new knowledge through conversation and also via the recovery of ephemeral documents held at various sites, but not lodged with libraries or archives. The compilation was based on extensive knowledge of the region and its architectural culture and brought together these buildings for the first time. Many buildings were unknown to architectural historians and the work led directly to three listings, of which the author was the applicant in two. More generally the work underpins the author's original research in championing mainstream modernism and using such as a means to understand prevailing, social, political, economic and cultural contexts particularly in the post-war period. This position offers an alternative critical frame to that of brutalism for major projects of the post-war. Designing the book was a collaborative work with renowned designer Vaseem Bhatti (ehquestionmark) and led to its production in three variants; a standard edition; a blown PVC slipcase edition with map; a concrete edition in bespoke box. The book sold 650 copies to a global audience in one week and was presented at a launch event to over 200 enthusiasts. The research connects with the author's ongoing work into post-war British architecture which is disseminated through his role as advisor to the Modernist Society in public walks, talks and exhibitions. Through this publication wider questions about post-war renewal and the complexities of government, planning and associated architecture have been exposed and these continue to inform the author's research through the Twentieth Century Society, European Architectural History Network and the establishment of a NW chapter of DoCoMoMo.