Anti-Ugly: Excursions in English Architecture and Design

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Since 2004 Gavin Stamp, one of Britain's most eminent and readable architectural historians, has written a monthly column for Apollo, the esteemed architecture and fine art magazine. The subject is simply whatever in design or architecture happens to take his fancy. It might be the splendid reopening of the magnificent Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras Station, or the dilapidation of a little-known church in Eastbourne; the much-lamented demise of the original Routemaster bus, or the colossal majesty of the airship sheds that housed the R.101. But while these pieces display a wonderful range and variety, they are unified by Stamp's wider quest: to explore, define and champion the very Englishness of English architecture and design. When fine examples are preserved and restored, he celebrates; when they fall victim to philistine neglect - or, worse, demolition - he mourns. And when the elegant is overshadowed by the merely modish, he deplores. In Anti-Ugly, Stamp has selected the best of these 'excursions', producing a compulsively readable collection that builds into an eloquent, learned, trenchant and often indignant portrait of our national design heritage.