As the modern world rose from the rubble of the Second World War, it was shaped by one material above all others: concrete. In 1947, a magazine was founded to document this profound shift in architecture and design. Its name was Concrete Quarterly.
My company, Wordmule, has produced CQ for its current publisher, The Concrete Centre, since 2010 and I have become increasingly fascinated by the magazine’s rich archive. So as its 70th anniversary loomed, I pitched a book that would chart the journey from the post-war period to the present day through its stunning photography and eyewitness testimony.
As a result, I spent much of the first half of 2017 rummaging through the archive, compiling and recompiling a list of the most significant projects, and writing The World Recast: 70 Buildings from 70 Years of Concrete Quarterly. Published by Artifice books on architecture, it is a story of heroic architecture, ingenious engineering and how the world we now take for granted came into being.
The 70 buildings I eventually settled on include some of the modern world’s greatest monuments and its boldest ideas, from the ethereal beauty of Ove Arup’s Brynmawr Rubber Factory to the towering grace of Gio Ponti’s Pirelli Tower, from the raw Brutalism of Le Corbusier to the digitally enhanced imagination of Zaha Hadid.