I have very much enjoyed reading Iconicon, an oddly titled, but immensely absorbing history of the last forty years of building development by John Grindrod, subtitled ‘A Journey Around the Landmark Buildings of Contemporary Britain’. It feels like the first draft of history, making sense of a mass of contemporary journalism by treating the material thematically, beginning with postmodernism and the development of docklands through the advent of the national lottery and the era of grand projets, including an account of the Millennium Dome, the Millennium Centre in Cardiff and the Scottish Parliament, a very detailed and damning account of Grenfell Tower, and ending with supportive descriptions of the work of Peter Barber in Donnybrook Quarter and Ordnance Road in Enfield, and the work of Assemble in Granby in Liverpool. The lesson of the book is that iconic buildings by big name practices have been of much less benefit than smaller, more local projects by the less well known: a good lesson post-Covid.



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