Published in January 2017, Lost Futures: The Disappearing Architecture of Post-War Britain explores the rise and fall of buildings constructed in Britain between 1945 and 1979. Focusing on 35 varying examples, the book explores the ideas and values that shaped these buildings' creation – and how changing external contexts, whether social, economic or political, as well as the buildings’ own internal characteristics, played a part in their subsequent destruction.
Featuring work by architects such as Erno Goldfinger, Alison and Peter Smithson, Richard Seifert, James Stirling and Basil Spence, Lost Futures provides a vivid illustration of how architecture that was conceived to bring about a bold new future was lost along the way.
Press and reviews
Interview with Robert Elms, 18 February 2017 – BBC Radio London
Interview, 21 February 2017 – BBC2 Newsnight
“Lost Futures … shows buildings that were awkward, cussed and sometimes unsaveable, but also majestic, romantic and unrepeatable, like the Trinity Square car park in Gateshead, Pimlico school in London and Birmingham central library. It’s hard not to feel, contemplating these works, that a layer of British history is being filleted away and that the evidence is being removed of a heroic period in British architecture.” – Rowan Moore, The Observer
“Architectural writers need to accept that postwar architecture is now history, and if we are indeed to ‘learn lessons’, we need to research and understand it as such. It is to Hopkins’s great credit that, by and large, he succeeds in this admirable first attempt.” – John Jervis, Icon Magazine
“There is much more of this sort of excellent analysis – both of the post-war building boom (Tory Housing Minister Harold MacMillan’s 1953 record of 300,000 new homes still stands) and the fate of the buildings since – in Hopkins’s long introductory essay, but the bulk of the book features 35 buildings put up in Britain between 1945 and 1979, photographed when new but now demolished, heavily altered or facing demolition. His words on each of those are equally fascinating, and four of them are (or were) in Scotland.” – Keith Bruce, The Herald
“Lost Futures … is a visual treat. In this 128-page book, author Owen Hopkins explores the rise of 35 buildings, which were constructed between 1945 and 1979, and also examines how social, economic and political factors contributed to their destruction - from Park Hill Estate in Sheffield to Hulme Crescents in Manchester. This was a period when many believed that architecture and innovative design could pave the way for a better future, and now thanks to Hopkins's contribution we have a record of the movement before it's razed. Featuring works by renowned architects such as Erno Goldfinger and Peter Smithson, Lost Futures is a must-read for all history and design buffs.” – GQ
“Although Britain’s post-war architecture has experienced a resurgence of interest in the past few years, much of it has either been demolished or marked for demolition. Lost Futures focuses on 35 of these structures built between 1945 and 1979, tracking the process from initial idealism to eventual demise.” – Disegno
“With intriguing descriptions placed adjacent to the photographs, as well as locations, architects and photography credits, the book acts as a complete itinerary of brutalist-inspired designs. For nostalgia and posterity, the text is informative and, at the same time, emotive.” – Kate Simpson, Aesthetica