Brown, Neave (7 of 19). National  Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2013-12-07, 2013-12-14, 2014-02-08, 2014-03-08, 2014-03-15, 2014-03-29, 2014-04-26, 2014-07-27, 2014-08-10, 2014-08-17, 2014-12-06

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, London

  • Interviewees

    Brown, Neave (1929-) (speaker,  male)

  • Interviewers

    Franklin, Geraint (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 7: NB mentions that housing at Dunboyne Road [recording location] was originally known as Fleet Road. Explanation of changing social and political context of local authority housing. Architects of NB’s generation devised social programmes integrated with their planning contexts, whereas the next generation, including RR, NF and Michael Hopkins [MH], worked in changed political context, designing isolated buildings for private clients. [00:04:26] NB gives example of his own schemes at Camden, Fleet Road and Alexandra Road. Prefabrication, industrialisation and high-rise promoted under [Harold] Macmillan’s public housing programme. Comments on changes in political control of London Borough of Camden. Mentions ‘hidden agenda’ of architects serving clients. [00:11:08] NB’s dislike of high-rise housing. Story of meeting at Camden council to encourage use of system building. Unsuitability of Alexandra Road scheme for prefabrication. NB’s opposition to LC’s approach to urban planning and dislike of streets. Comments on relationship between society and built form. [00:20:01] Comments on SS, his character and relation to NB’s group. Mentions departure from Winscombe Street after end of first marriage and stays with EE and David [Shalev] [DS]; JM and Sue Miller; and SS and Mary Stevens. [00:25:28] Mentions visits of JS to LIE office and NB’s games of squash and arguments with JS. Comments on JS and JG’s housing at Ham Common and Leicester [University] Engineering Building. Remarks on relationship between JS and JG; their competition entry [for Churchill College Cambridge] and [Cambridge History Faculty]. [00:31:36] Mentions periods of private work during employment at Camden, including exhibition designs, teaching and architectural design. Description of NB’s private projects for Godfrey Pilkington [GP], director of Piccadilly Gallery. [00:35:42] Mentions bad feeling between PH and SW over design attribution of student housing [Harvey Court, Cambridge] and influence of PH’s law library studies on British Library. [00:38:59] Remarks on LM; mentions his theoretical work on architectural form [alludes to contribution of Lionel March at Centre for Land Use and Built Form Studies at Cambridge University]. [00:44:00] NB’s lack of engagement with CIAM [Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne], and disagreement with its urban planning principles. Criticism of urban planning ideas of Smithsons [and Team Ten]. [00:47:18] Mentions diagnosis with dyslexia as AA student, poor handwriting and spelling. Comments on effects of dyslexia and strengths and weaknesses of own memory. [00:51:33] Remarks on RR; NB taught RR as student [at AA], both worked together at Middlesex County Council Architect’s Department. Comments on RR’s Pompidou Centre and Lloyds Building. NB’s affinity with approach of Ted Cullinan [Edward Cullinan], RM and MH; ‘on our side of the dotted line’. Remarks on contextual nature of MH’s Portcullis House and work on Willis Faber building [in Ipswich, by Norman Foster Associates]. [00:59:32] NB’s friendship with EE and DS; mentions EE’s winning competition entry [for Lincoln Civic Centre] and Newport [High] School in partnership with DS. Comments on EE and DS’s approach to design. Explains circumstances between commissioning of Evans & Shalev and Tom Kay [TK] to complete community buildings on Alexandra Road project. Comments on Evans & Shalev’s buildings, [a children’s reception centre and a home for young physically disabled people]. Comments on personalities of EE and DS as designers. [01:08:50] Description of layout, staff and work routine of LIE office in Portland Place. Association of practice with New Brutalism, and comments on this style. Mentions JM’s design for [Annex to Old Vic Theatre]; NB’s workshop block at Hammersmith Hospital; and DG’s [Wyndham Court, Southampton]. Comments on relationship between partners and employees. Mentions JM and AC’s establishment of their own practice [Colquhoun & Miller] with work give to them by LIE. Remarks on different architectural approaches of partners. Conservative dress of architects in LIE office. [Cough 01:18:49] Mentions lunch arrangements and games of squash with JS.

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