Owen Hatherley visits Euston station with Gavin Stamp for BBC Radio 4's "Front Row" show. Presenter John Wilson meets
Two architectural historians who have written new books about change, destruction and reinvention in the urban landscape. Owen Hatherley's A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain laments much of the recent public building projects of the last two decade; Gavin Stamp's Lost Victorian Britain is a self-explanatory title.
The Modernist station, built in the 1960s, replaced the original station of the early 19th century, demolished along with the iconic Euston Arch. Whilst Stamp laments the "gratuitous destruction" of the old Doric gateway, Hatherley thinks that the new complex is "unspectacular but reasonably decent." That the building is once again slated for demolition prompts Hatherley to quote what Deng Xiaoping once said about Mao's mausoleum: that if it wasn't right to build it, it isn't right to knock it down.
Hatherley's and Stamp's perspectives on the architecture of the more distant past and the recent past often intertwine: both agree, for example, that buildings of the past 150 years or 15 years were victims of political and economic pressures, and what Stamp calls 'prejudice,' and Hatherley a form of 'self-hatred.'
Visit the BBC Radio 4 website to listen to Owen Hatherley on "Front Row" in full—the two critics are on about twenty minutes into the show.