Modern Buildings in London

Travis Elborough at The Paris Review:

It seems no less than highly appropriate that when Ian Nairn’s Modern Buildings in London first appeared in 1964 it was purchasable from one of a hundred automatic book-vending machines that had been installed in a selection of inner-London train stations just two years earlier. Sadly, these machines, operated by the British Automatic Company, were short-lived. Persistent vandalism and theft saw them axed during the so-called Summer of Love, by which time, and perhaps thanks to Doctor Who’s then-recent battles with mechanoid Cybermen, the shine had rather come off the idea of unfettered technological progress. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, with its malevolent supercomputer HAL 9000, after all, lay only a few months away. And so too, did the partial collapse of the Ronan Point high-rise (a space-age monolith of sorts) in Canning Town, East London—an event widely credited with helping to turn the general public against modernist architecture.

more here.