The Art-Architecture Complex

Swindon gets two mentions in Hal Foster’s new book The Art-Architecture Complex:

Team 4’s Reliance Controls Factory – “a breakthrough structure in Swindon (in southwest England), which the architectural writer Kenneth Powell describes as ‘neither a factory nor an office building nor a research station but a combination of all three.’  The first of many ‘flexible sheds’ that Rogers has designed over the years, the Reliance Controls Factory owed much to the elegant simplicity of the Case Study Houses in Southern California, especially the famous Eames House of 1949.  Yet Rogers was also open to the new Pop and high-tech ideas of the 1960s.” (20-21)

Norman Foster’s Renault Center – “That ‘Foster’ is able to design efficient structures that are also media-friendly is proven: Renault uses its center in Swindon (1980-1982) in the southwest, with its yellow exoskeleton of piers, cables, and canopies, as the backdrop for its UK advertisements (36) […] In such ‘Foster’ designs, both history and nature appear abstracted, even sublimated, and the same might be said of industry.  In the background of these projects one often senses the early jewel of industrial structures, the Crystal Palace by Joseph Paxton for the Great Exhibition in London in 1851.”(47)

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