1st Edition

Revaluing Modern Architecture Changing conservation culture

By John Allan Copyright 2022
    206 Pages
    by RIBA Publishing

    The conservation of our Modern architectural heritage is a subject of vehement debate. When do buildings become old or significant enough to warrant special heritage status and protection? Should Modern listed buildings be treated differently from those of earlier periods? And what does all this mean for building users and owners, who might be better served if their buildings were less authentic, but more comfortable and usable?

    Presenting a clear line of sight through these complex questions, this book explores the conservation, regeneration and adaptive re-use of Modern architecture. It provides a general grounding in the field, its recent history and current development, including chapters on authenticity, charters, listing and protection. Case studies drawing on the author’s extensive practical experience offer valuable lessons learnt in the conservation of Modern heritage buildings.

    Looking beyond the specialist field of ‘elite’ heritage, Revaluing Modern Architecture also considers the changing culture of conservation for ‘sub-iconic’ buildings in relation to de-carbonisation and the climate emergency. It suggests how revaluing the vast legacy of modern architecture can help to promote a more sustainable future.

    • Features leading conservation projects, such as the celebrated Penguin Pool at London Zoo, Finsbury Health Centre by Lubetkin & Tecton and Wells Coates’ Isokon (Lawn Road) Flats, as well as previously unpublished projects.
    • Analyses key Modern conservation controversies of recent years
    • Illustrated with over 160 photos and drawings.
    • An essential primer for architectural students and practitioners, academics, those employed in conservation and planning, property owners, developers, surveyors and building managers.


    Part I: Retrospect

    1. The Story So Far

    2. Authenticity

    3. Charters

    4. Listing

    5. Protection

    6. Weaknesses

    Part II: Prospect

    7. From Relics to Resources

    8. Quickfire questions

    9. Lessons learned

    10. Changing conservation culture


    John Allan is an architect with over 35 years’ experience in the conservation of modern architecture, having worked on many high-profile listed buildings by pioneer modern architects of the 1930s and post-war. He was founding chairman, and is current international secretary, of DOCOMOMO-UK and lectures internationally at architectural schools, conferences, and amenity societies.