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Everything Was Dreadful And Then It Was Saved: Richard King Interviews Owen Hatherley

Then I think what happens is the middle class, who are always in Britain – and especially with things that are not music and not fashion – the leaders of aesthetic trends, decided that they loved the Victorian era. It cannot be emphasised enough that it came from Alan Bennett moving to that Victorian slum in Camden and knocking through the walls and thinking it’s wonderful. And that filtered down. So people didn’t want to live in a nice new flat in the Elephant & Castle. They wanted to live in Orpington or Dartford. That meant that Brutalism – architecture that was originally aspirational – ended up becoming the architecture for people who couldn’t afford to live anywhere else. And then, two decades later, the hipsters who invented Brutalism in the first place, come back to it and buy it up. A public asset is being removed, and that for me is the most important issue above all else. That’s the moment it ceases to be Modernism with a capital M.

(One pictures people being shifted around unfashionable then fashionable housing, perhaps able to make a profit due to the vagaries of middle class taste.)