Radical ESSEX Book, Modern Architecture

Radical ESSEX Book, Modern Architecture, Modernist Buildings, Architects, Designs

Radical ESSEX Book

The Modernist County: 20th Century Architecture in South East England, UK

22 Jun 2018

Radical ESSEX Book News

Radical ESSEX Book – ESSEX Architecture Weekend News

‘Essex is a complex county, judged solely by more misguided stereotypes than perhaps any other. The Radical ESSEX project set out to re-examine this perception and celebrate the extremes of this innovative and experimental county. From early modernist architectural experiments to worker colonies and pacifist communities, the county has always demonstrated its ability to be self-guided in its desires – to seek, experiment and redefine.’ Radical ESSEX co-editor Joe Hill

Radical ESSEX Book cover:
Radical ESSEX Book

Focal Point Gallery is pleased to announce the publication of Radical ESSEX.

Following on from the Radical Essex project, which took place throughout 2016 and 2017, this publication includes new writing from Tim Burrows, Gillian Darley, Charles Holland, Rachel Lichtenstein, Jules Lubbock, Jess Twyman and Ken Worpole, as well as photography from Catherine Hyland.

Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch:
Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch Essex building

Photographs © Catherine Hyland. Courtesy Focal Point Gallery

It charts a project which set out to re-examine the region in relation to its radicalism, lifestyle, politics and architecture, and shed light on the region’s the vibrant, pioneering thinking throughout the twentieth century.

This publication includes archive material that document the wide range of activity including a weekend celebrating Modernist architecture in Essex, and an exhibition charting the history of the county’s experimental communities.

Le Chateau, Silver End:
Le Chateau, Silver End building in Essex

In their respective essays, Burrows and Worpole reveal how Essex, trapped between the city and the longest coastline in England, became a form of an escape, a testing ground for experimental ways of living, and a place where new artistic practices could develop and thrive. Examples include include Tolstoyan communes, the anarchist-pacifist open house Dial House, founded by members of the punk band Crass, and the religious retreat of Othona Community.

Radical ESSEX Book images

The county also lays claim to being the birthplace of British Modernism, with the country’s earliest building of this style built on the outskirts of Braintree, laying the path for gems built by Ove Arup, Joseph Emberton and Richard and Su Rogers. This is celebrated by the architect Charles Holland, who, with Grayson Perry, created the celebrated A House for Essex.

Essex has played a significant role in architectural experiments as the home to two socialist working communities in Silver End and East Tilbury, as well as two New Towns: Harlow and Basildon. Gillian Darley describes their development, from do-it-yourself plotlands to meticulously planned civic settlements, their creation forming a new relationship for the county to the capital.

Bata Factory, East Tilbury:
Bata Factory, East Tilbury building in Essex

The University of Essex has long since been known as a site of radical politics. Jules Lubbock discusses the formation of the Colchester campus, the thinking behind the innovative, interconnected architecture that would encourage cross learning and new thinking, with Jess Twyman taking over to examine how the students took this on, by challenging their authority through sit-ins and protests, living up to the University motto of being ‘rebels with a cause’.

Finally, Rachel Lichtenstein examines the current physical landscape of the county, through that which still connects us to London, the Thames Estuary, recalling a walk recently taken with Iain Sinclair out to Essex, describing the views, history, industry and society of the waterway, ending at the looming, and now desolate, Bata shoe factory.

The Sunshine House, Heath Drive, Romford:
The Sunshine House, Heath Drive, Romford building

Radical ESSEX is illustrated with photography from award-winning photographer Catherine Hyland, who worked in residence for the Radical ESSEX project, documenting the architecture and landscape of the county in her unique style. It also includes a new series of her works, ‘People of Othona’.

This publication has been produced using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England as part of the country-wide Cultural Destinations programme, a partnership with VisitEngland. It has also received support from Essex Heritage Trust, a charity whose funds support the preservation or restoration of any aspect of Essex Heritage.

A launch will be held at Twenty One, Southend-on-Sea on Saturday 30 June, 2.00 to 4.00pm.

Shipwrights, Benfleet building:
Shipwrights, Benfleet, Essex building

Radical ESSEX book publication details and writers biographies

Previously on e-architect:

ESSEX Architecture Weekend

10 – 11 Sep 2016

Radical Essex is presenting a programme of events to celebrate the county’s pioneering role in twentieth century architecture.

Essex Architecture Event

Essex Architecture
St Chads Housing
photo © Kilian O’Sullivan

About Radical Essex

Radical Essex

Focal Point Gallery

Focal Point Gallery, Elmer Square, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1NB, Essex, England, UK
+44 (0)1702 534108, focalpointgallery@southend.gov.uk @radicalessex


To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.




Essex Building Designs

Essex Architecture

Newhall Be, Harlow, north west Essex
Design: Alison Brooks Architects
Newhall Harlow
photo : Paul Riddle

Newhall Housing

Romford Development, south west Essex
Design: ColladoCollins Architects
Romford Building
image from architects

Romford Development

Southend Pier
Design: White Arkitekter
Southend Pier Building
photograph : Luke Hayes

Southend Pier Cultural Centre




Essex Buildings

Grays Brewery Building

Essex Housing

University of Essex Institute For Democracy and Conflict Resolution

English Architecture

English Architecture Designs – chronological list

County Architecture adjacent to Essex
Cambridgeshire Buildings
Hertfordshire buildings
Suffolk Buildings

Modern Architects

Website: Architecture

Buildings / photos for the Radical ESSEX Book page welcome

Radical ESSEX Book – page

Website: Essex, England