FRS Yorke: and the Evolution of English Modernism
Between the early 1930s and 1950s, modernist architecture underwent a spectacular change of fortune in Britain – from a small-scale avant-garde movement, to the official, state-funded architectural idiom of the post-1945 Welfare State.
FRS Yorke (1906–62) was the only architect who completely followed that trajectory. His book The Modern House (1934) placed his detailed knowledge of European architecture as an introduction to modern architecture for generations of architects, and provided inspiration for his own designs. But it was only after World War II, and the social and political change which came in its wake, that Yorke was able to turn his reputation as a modernist into commercial success. As his pre-War contemporaries gave up architecture or moved abroad, his practice – Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall – drew on his experience of working on large, state-funded construction projects during the War, and participated in the transformation of Britain’s social and physical fabric with its new housing, hospitals, schools, universities and airports.
This book, the first study of this seminal figure in British architectural history, shows how Yorke found and exploited opportunities to pursue his architectural ambitions, though always retaining a pragmatic and humane approach to architecture which sometimes saw him at odds with the mainstream. It concludes with a memoir by David Allford, who worked with Yorke and Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall from 1952 until 1989..
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