Modern Futures


There has been a groundswell of interest in modernist architecture in recent years, particularly buildings from the second half of the twentieth century. Individuals and groups are engaging with modernist environments in the form of popular histories, documentaries and community projects, and digital and social media. Alongside this growing popularity however, many of these buildings are under threat from demolition and regeneration.

Modern Futures explores these trends, their connections, and how more popular and creative engagements might be used to inform the uncertain future of modernist architecture.


Hannah Neate and Ruth Craggs (editors) “Modern Futures”
Christine Wall, “You’d concrete and say a wee prayer”—the South Bank Arts Complex and new notions of value in modern architecture
Esther Johnson, Mid-Century Modern Living
Richard Brook, Mainstream Modern
Matthew Whitfield, The Suburbs Project
Matthew Steele & Angela Connelly, Surveying Greater Manchester’s Sacred Suburbs
Andy Lock, with Iain Anderson, The use of photography in recording the legacy of the modern movement in Britain’s post-war landscapes
Eddy Rhead, From Here to Modernity—Manchester Modernist Society
Sally Stone, Gate 81
Verity-Jane Keefe, The Mobile Museum
Ian Waites, ‘Spontaneous Estate Evolution’—Research/Practice interventions on a 1960s council estate
Michael Gallagher, Architecture about us
Natalie Bradbury, Bubbling away in the background—William Mitchell’s Harlow fountains
John Pendlebury & Aidan While, Post-war social housing: conservation and regeneration


Available to purchase from Uniformbooks

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New journal article published

The site has been dormant for a while, mainly because we’ve been carrying on this work in the form of the Modern Futures network.  However we are pleased to announce that a paper drawing on the research we conducted for the ‘Cultures of Architectural Enthusiasm’ project has just been published in the journal Geoforum.  Title and abstract below.

Managing Enthusiasm: Between ‘Extremist’ Volunteers and ‘Rational’ Professional Practices in Architectural Conservation


Recent geographical research has considered enthusiasm to be a shared passion and a motivator to action. Through the example of architectural conservation in Britain, and the activities of the Twentieth Century Society in particular, this paper examines the tensions between enthusiasm as a productive and positive affiliation, and enthusiasm as a negative, prohibitive, and at times extremist position. The paper makes three key contributions: firstly, it demonstrates how methodologically it is possible to trace enthusiasm, using ethnographic method to reveal not only what groups say they do, but also what they actually do.  Secondly, it argues that enthusiasm is a productive but ambivalent term that creates tensions within organisations and societies where professional and volunteer roles are present. Thirdly, we show that even though enthusiasm has productive capacities, it also requires careful management, and on occasion denial.  The tensions between enthusiasm and professionalism that we trace are relevant beyond the realm of architectural conservation and resonate with other groups comprised of volunteers and professionals.

You can access a free downloadable version of the full article here (this link will work until 14th July 2016).

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Mid-Century Modern Living

Modern Futures

Mid-Century Modern Living

Film Screening With Artist Esther Johnson

5.00pm, Friday 23rd January 2015

University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Foster Building Lecture Theatre 4

View from my window 3


An observation, investigation and social record of the lives and thoughts of ten residents of the Golden Lane Estate, London. Built in the late 1950s by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, the Golden Lane estate exemplifies an utopian ideal of social housing. Made to mark the 50th anniversary of the Golden Lane Estate. Filmed in 2010 whilst Artist-in-Residence for EXHIBIT Gallery Super Estates Foundation.

ELEVATION 2009 / 10’

A unique portrait of Sheffield’s in/famous Park Hill estate, created during an eclipse period between clearance and reinvention. Commissioned by Art Sheffield for the Sheffield Pavilion ’09 and the 11th Istanbul Biennial.

The films will be introduced by the artist

The event is free.  No…

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Our architectural enthusiasms…

In our project we’ve been thinking about the different ways that individuals and groups of people celebrate, campaign for and are generally enthusiastic about twentieth century architecture. Sometimes we’ve been asked if we are enthusiasts. I think I may have given myself away in the latest edition of The Modernist magazine. This is a publication I have been a fan of since its first issue.

In issue no.9 you’ll find a piece by me about Bayko – a building toy. So, yes. I am an enthusiast of twentieth century architecture in many guises. But one of my obsessions over the past year or so has been Bayko, or what I like to think of as suburbia in a box.




For copies of The Modernist

– Hannah

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The Big Bus Station Parade

Bus Station Parade

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by | October 14, 2013 · 4:34 pm

Preston Bus Station Grade II Listed


English Heritage announced today the decision to designate Preston Bus Station Grade II. Full details of the decision to list will be available tomorrow (Tuesday 28th September) from the English Heritage website.

Here are some news reports from today:


Mail Online ‘concrete monstrosity'(!) –

Lancashire Evening Post – worth reading the comments –

Dezeen – ‘making it harder – but not impossible – for the bus station to be knocked down’ –

Channel 4 News – ‘iconic bus station lives to fight another day’ –

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Call for Papers – Geographies of Modernism: architecture, heritage and landscape

Association of American Geographers’ Annual Meeting Tampa, Florida, April 8 to April 12, 2014

Recent years have witnessed an increasing popular and academic interest in architectural modernism, specifically its material cultures, associated political projects, and broader landscapes. This session aims to bring an international perspective to these debates by inviting contributors to examine the histories, politics and contemporary evaluations of the modernist project in diverse places and settings (architecture, design, interiors, town planning, institutions). Papers might consider modernism and its legacies in, for example, post-socialist spaces, The Global North and South, and wide-ranging post-colonial and post-imperial contexts.

Following on from our own work on modernist architecture in the UK, we are interested in drawing together papers that explore links to broader national and international ideologies of reconstruction, development, modernisation, and welfare, and the status of these modernisms today: how are they reappropriated, contested and valued (or not) in the twenty-first century as heritage, real estate, memorial, aesthetic, commodity?  How has modernist architecture, design and material culture been subject to institutionalization as heritage, through national and international legislation and popular campaigning, to disinvestment and privatization through shifting political and economic contexts, and to commodification through popular cultural forms?

Themes and topics to explore include:

  • Architectural styles and materials
  • Modernism as heritage
  • Preservation, conservation and legislation
  • Reuse and re-appropriation
  • Demolition
  • Domestic spaces
  • Problematic legacies
  • Campaigning and activism
  • Commodification
  • Popular cultures of modernism
  • Public and private space

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words to Hannah Neate ( by Friday 11th October 2013.

Session organisers: H Neate, UCLan; H Geoghegan, Reading; R Craggs, Kings

For general information about the conference go to:

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