International style

This website contains profiles of Modernist buildings in Britain. Each profile contains a description and history of the building, photographs and a location information. The following list of sites are Modernist buildings are "International Style". Click the building name or the "read more" link to view the building profile.

Embassy Court, Brighton

Embassy Court

King's Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2PX

Standing on King's Road on Brighton seafront Embassy Court is a fine example of Modernist architecture. Designed by the architect Wells Coates (1895 - 1958), Embassy Court was built between 1934 and 1936. Coates was a designer and architect and was responsible for many fine Modernist buildings in Britain, including the Isokon building in London and the Telekinema for the 1951 Festival of Britain. Even today Embassy Court provides a striking architectural contrast to the surrounding Regency and Victorian-style buildings on Brighton and Hove's seafront. When built in the mid-1930s its appearance must have been even more radical. However, the scale of the building is better judged in comparison to nearby Marine Court in St Leonard's on Sea, a building that completely dominates its surroundings. The footprint of Embassy Court forms a mirror 'L'-shape on King's Road and Western Street in Brighton. Constructed of rendered, reinforced concrete the building comprises twelve storeys including its basement structure. Embassy Court contains 72 separate apartments, spread across its eleven principal storeys. The main block comprises the first eight storeys. The south-east corner of the building features a curved bay of windows. Each of the first eight storeys has glazed bays with recessed balconies, with adjacent balconies separated by screens. From the ninth floor upwards the remaining three storeys are set back successively providing sun terraces for the apartments, with a final twelfth storey featuring a canopied-roof and sun terrace. The main entrance is on King's Road via a glazed entrance... Read more »
Tags: International Style

Isokon Building, London

Isokon Building

Lawn Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 2XD

In 1931 the Isokon firm was founded by Jack and Molly Pritchard and partners. The partners of the company were interested in modern living and sought to design buildings and furniture a modern style. Previously, in the mid-1920s, Jack Pritchard had met architect Wells Wintemute Coates and a synergy between the Pritchards and Coates was formed, all having an appreciation for architecture and modern design for living. The Pritchards purchased a plot of land at Lawn Road, Hampstead, London (near to Belsize Park Underground station) and commissioned Wells Coates to design and build a block of serviced flats. Coates had grown up in Japan, served in the Royal Air Force, and studied at the University of British Columbia before moving to Britain where he set up an architectural and design practice. Properly known as Lawn Road Flats, Coates designed a four storey block of thirty-four flats with two roof-top penthouses. Built of reinforced concrete with cement wash render, the main elevation facing Lawn Road featured a cantilevered stairwell to the left, giving access to cantilevered balconies that are carried the full extent of the elevation. The balconies terminated at the right with a five storey tower providing stairwell access to all floors - the penthouse flat is not accessible by the cantilevered left stairwell and balconies. The stair tower is illuminated by a slender vertical window. The west-facing (rear) elevation, away from Lawn Road, features twelve bays of windows, with balconies on three of these bays. At ground floor level, adjacent to... Read more »
Tags: International Style

Park Avenue, Ruislip

Park Avenue

97-99, Park Avenue, Ruislip, Middlesex, HA4 7UL

Numbers 97-99 Park Avenue, and adjacent 101 Park Avenue, are three Modernist houses in Ruislip, on the fringes of suburban-west London. The houses are a stark contrast to the surrounding housing stock on Park Avenue of traditional, brick and pitch-tiled roof, mid to late-twentieth century houses. These Modernist houses appear a curious component of a traditional urban environment, until the story of the development of the three homes is understood. When plans were submitted to the local authority in 1933 by architects Connell, Ward and Lucas, there were initially rejected. Today, we might not realise just how radical and controversial these Modernist homes were. Everything about the design - the concrete-construction, the flat roof, the large glazed areas, the white-painted exterior - were "alien" to Britain. Modernist architecture was "imported" to Britain from Europe and there was a mistrust, almost a xenophobia (Modernist architecture flourished in Germany), towards this style of architecture amongst traditionalists. There were also practical concerns; the flat roofs and large glazed areas were considered unsuitable for the wetter, colder British climate. The revised plans were submitted and accepted, and numbers 97-99 Park Avenue were finally constructed in 1935. Subsequent plans for 101 Park Avenue were approved and that house was built in 1936. Had the British public embraced Modernist architecture, a whole estate of Modernist houses could have sprung up in Ruislip. As it was, no more homes were built in this style. Looking back, the three houses that were built were a failed social experiment in Modernist... Read more »
Tags: International Style

Saltdean Lido, Saltdean

Saltdean Lido

Saltdean Park Road, Saltdean, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 8SP

Lying three miles east of Brighton, on the south coast of England, is the small town of Saltdean. Despite its size Saltdean possesses two of the finest Modernist buildings in Britain, the former Ocean Hotel and Saltdean Lido. A lido is a public outdoor swimming pool and it was during the 1930s the construction of lidos reached its peak in Britain, and arguably some of the finest lidos were built in this period. Lidos were built across the country, not only on the coast like at Saltdean, but in many industrial cities and urban areas. According to Janet Smith, author of "Liquid Assets" on the history of lidos and open air pools in Britain, 300 lidos and open air pools in Britain have closed, while less than 100 remain in operation. Saltdean Lido was built in 1938 and was designed by the architect Richard William Herbert Jones, who also designed Saltdean's former Ocean Hotel and residential properties Teynham House, Curzon House and Marine View located on Chichester Road East and Marine Drive. Constructed of rendered, reinforced concrete Saltdean Lido comprises a central two storey block with a curved, main facade facing a large swimming pool. Each side of the building has a wing, giving the Lido a symmetrical appearance. The building's ground floor originally housed a foyer, changing rooms, boiler, fuel room and offices. Each wing terminates in a two-storey pavilion, with an internal staicase providing access to terraces above, which occupy the upperside of the ground-floor canopy roof. The upper... Read more »
Tags: International Style

A celebration of Modernist architecture in Britain