20 Bedford Way is amongst the best examples of Brutalist architecture in London. This is a fact recognised by its grade II* listed status. It shares its architect, Sir Denys Lasdun, with iconic buildings such as the Royal National Theatre on the South Bank.
Brutalism is a term applied to a school of modernist architecture which began during the 1950s. The influence of brutalism still continues today. Typifying 1970’s architecture, it is “geometric, massive, monolithic and blocky” and typified by the use of poured and moulded concrete in its construction. See how our very own 20 Bedford Way in construction in these rare photographs.
Brutalist style, often associated with socialist and Soviet architecture, was popularised by the architect Reyner Banham in his writings. It has many critics who believe Brutalism to be ugly and dismissive of historical context. In Banham’s own words, it is also a no-nonsense style that, “makes the whole conception of the building plain and comprehensible.”
In a post war era, Brutalism was popular for its ability to communicate strength, functionality and frugal construction. Its underlying philosophy of inclusion and equality made it ideal for major public and educational building projects. However it was rarely used for corporate buildings where the association with Socialism was, at that time, considered in a negative light.
London has many fine examples of Brutalist architecture. Lasdun’s work also includes the SOAS building for the University of London. Other famous buildings from the era including the Barbican Centre, the Royal College of Physicians and the Centre Point Tower.
20 Bedford Way is proudly brutalist. We believe that our unique architecture makes us standout from the crowd. Events and conferences held at our central London venue are guaranteed to have an impact and last long in the memory. The features of our iconic building also provide fantastic backdrops for photo shoots and filming.