Denys Lasdun



With Denys Lasdun’s dying of pneumonia at the age of 86, British modernity has lost a principal reference. A graduate of the Architectural Association, where he would also teach, Lasdun in 1938 became a disciple and collaborator of Berthold Lubetkin in the studio Tekton. This experience had a clear bearing on early solo projects carried out in the fifties, including the towers at Bethnal Green and the residential block on St. James Place, both in London. The gelling of a language of his own took place in the following decade, when his architecture drifted toward buildings with terraced platforms that amount to built landscapes. The University of East Anglia in Norwich and Christ College in Cambridge, which rise like rational, ‘geometrized’ prolongations of the topography, illustrate this aspect of his production well. Visitable in London are two equally representative samples of his oeuvre: the Royal College of Physicians, one of the most acclaimed, and the National Theatre, surely the most controversial, completed shortly before he was bestowed the RIBA Gold Medal and the title ‘Sir’

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