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Sir Denys Lasdun Interactive Timeline


Created to celebrate one hundred years since the birth of one of the UK’s most significant architects, this interactive timeline explores the life of Sir Denys Lasdun.


Every building has, at its heart, a generating idea, which must express itself through every part and in every detail.”




Sir Denys Lasdun Biography

For those using a screen-reader or unable to access the above timeline, here are the details of Sir Denys Lasdun’s life and architectural career:


September 8, 1914

A Child is Born

Denys Louis Lasdun is born in Pembridge Place, London to a Russian businessman, Nathan, and an Australian musician, Julie Abrahams.



The Return to London

After spending time in Australia, a 3-year-old Denys returns to London via America and moves into the Vandyke Hotel.


1932 — 1935

Student Life

Lasdun studies at the Architectural Association in London. During this time, he wins an award for the design of a student hostel in Regent’s Park and travels to Paris to see Le Corbusier’s work. He leaves AA after 3 years without receiving a diploma.


1935 — 1937

First Job

Lasdun starts work for Wells Coates, part of the MARS (Modern Architecture Research) Group.




Lasdun completes his first house at 32 Newton Road in Paddington, following Le Corbusier’s domino principle.




Lasdun joins Berthold Lubetkin’s practice.


September 3, 1939 — April 1, 1945


Lasdun serves with the Royal Engineers in the Second World War, assisting in the construction of airfields.



Lasdun sets up in practice with Lindsay Drake.



Hallfield Primary School

Lasdun and Drake complete a two-storey school in Paddington, featuring precast concrete mullions and louvres.




Denys Lasdun marries Susan Bendit. Their honeymoon is spent in America visiting modern buildings including those by Mies van der Rohe.



Keeling House

Lasdun’s sixteen-storey block of flats in Bethnal Green is completed. (1954 – 1957)



Denys Lasdun & Partners is established.



St James’ Place

Lasdun builds 26 St James’s Place – London’s first experience of strata.


1962 — 1969

University of East Anglia

In 1962, Lasdun conceives of a new style of student housing that complements the natural surroundings and contributes to student happiness. It is completed in 1969.


1963 — 1976

National Theatre

In 1963, Lasdun is appointed as the architect for the National Theatre on London’s Southbank. On completion in 1976, it receives mixed reviews. In 1988, Prince Charles refers to its construction as: ”a clever way of building a nuclear power station in the middle of London without anyone objecting,” sparking fresh debate.



Royal College of Physicians

The Royal College of Physicians, overlooking Regent’s Park in north London, is completed. (1958 – 1964)
Watch this video on Lasdun’s Royal College of Physicians: the Anatomy of a Building:


Christ’s College New Court

The Cambridge University tiered concrete ‘Typewriter’ is completed. (1966 – 1970)



20 Bedford Way

Lasdun’s ‘massive’ Institute of Education building is completed. It is officially opened by the Queen Mother in 1977.




Denys Lasdun becomes Sir Denys Lasdun.



Lasdun wins the R.I.B.A Royal Gold Medal.



IBM Building – Southbank

Built inline with the National Theatre, the IBM Building project is completed. (1979 – 1983)



Lasdun receives R.I.B.A’s 1992 trustees’ medal



Back to the Future

Lasdun is commisioned to revisit his Royal College of Physicians project, adding an extension.




A major retrospective of Lasdun’s work opens at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.


January 11, 2001

Sir Denys Lasdun dies at the age of 86.

He is survived by his wife and three children.



Sir Denys Lasdun Interview

Between 1996 and 1997, Sir Denys Lasdun was interviewed about his life by Jill Lever. The audio recordings have been digitised by the British Library and are divided into 10 parts, exploring all aspects of Lasdun’s life. These interviews assisted greatly in the creation of the above timeline. The full archives can be accessed here.








Further reading on architecture:

Brutalist London


Header image of the National Theatre by Tom Spooner. If there any issues with the use of any images featured please contact us.

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