I have been trying to find out more about Eric de Maré, the 1950s architectural photographer whose fascination for industrial buildings was such a formative influence on a number of architects in the late 1950s, including Norman Foster and Michael Hopkins, who learned about the idea of anonymous architectural form in the photographs he supplied for The Functional Tradition as shown in Early Industrial Buildings, first published as a special issue of the Architectural Review in July 1957 and reissued the following year as a book supplemented by a few additional photographs by John Piper and Richards himself.
De Maré was the son of a Swedish timber merchant, educated at St. Paul’s and the Architectural Association, and worked for a period as an architect before becoming editor of the Architect’s Journal in 1943. After the war, he went freelance and wrote a book on Canals which demonstrated his fascination for the industrial vernacular, with a chapter on ‘Sculpture by Accident’ and photographs of lock valves, balance beams, and bollards. He described this as a form of functionalism: ‘its constiuent elements are geometry unadorned, and it owes its effects to the forthright, spare and logical use of materials’.
Michael Hopkins paid for the acquisition of de Maré’s photographic archive by the Architectural Association in 1990 and his book inspired the construction of the barge-boarded lift inserted into (or onto) the back of our house not so long ago:-