Via the director Tom Cordell, news of his new documentary Utopia London:
"The film observes the method and practise of the Modernist architects who rebuilt London after World War Two. It shows how they revolutionised life in the city in the wake of destruction from war and the poor living conditions inherited from the Industrial Revolution. This film is their story. Utopia London travels through the recent history of the city where the film maker grew up. He finds the architects who designed it and reunites them with the buildings they created."
"These young idealists were once united around a vision of using science and art to create a city of equal citizens. Their architecture fused William Morris with urban high-rise; ancient parkland with concrete."
"Utopia London examines the, social and political agendas of the time in which the city was rebuilt. The story goes on to explore how the meaning of these transformative buildings has been radically manipulated over subsequent decades. Inspired by the optimism of the past it poses the question; where do we go from here and now?"
I recently wrote about the book Nairn's London, and this will do little to move me on from thinking about the old place, particularly as the UK's architectural future seems potentially more depressing than ever. In this light, Cordell's film is timely indeed, seeking to highlight the potential in progressive architecture with a social conscience, evidence of which is still just about visible, dotted around the UK, from Robin Hood Gardens to Park Hill, Brunswick to Barbican.
The documentary looks great. It's a particularly lovely idea to locate the original designers and talk to them about what happened. The accompanying website has some good clips; here's the trailer:
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