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Post-modern buildings featuring ‘fun and colour’ given protected status

Listed status has been awarded to 17 buildings dating from the late 1970s to 1990s to stem losses of an important architectural style.

A raft of bold and brightly coloured post-modern buildings from crown courts to housing schemes have been given protected status.

The post-modern style, which is closely associated with the economic boom of the 1980s, brought “fun and colour” and “glamour” to Britain’s streets, experts said, with bright colours, striking shapes and geometric patterns.

Now 17 buildings dating from the late 1970s to the 1990s have been listed by the Culture Department on the advice of heritage body Historic England to stem losses of architecture in the post-modern style.

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Cowper Terrace in Westbourne Grove, London, are among the post-modern buildings whose importance is being recognised (Historic England/PA)

They join seven post-modern buildings already listed in the last couple of years, mostly in London.

The newly listed buildings include Cambridge Judge Business School, which transforms a mid-18th century hospital building, and the Gough Building at Bryanston School, Dorset, with columns modelled to look like giant screws that reflect its original use as the craft, design and technology building.

Also listed are Truro Crown Courts in Cornwall, designed by the same architects as the Tate Gallery, St Ives, and the striking Thematic House in Kensington and Chelsea, whose rooms relate to the seasons and the passage of the sun and the moon.

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The solar staircase at the Thematic House, Lansdowne Walk, North Kensington, London. is among its inventive elements (Historic England/PA)

Four housing schemes in London’s Docklands, which was regenerated from 1981, have been listed, as has the Sainsbury Wing at the National Gallery, designed by architects considered to be the founders of post-modernism.

The style emerged as a critical reaction to modernism and after a period out of favour, a 2011 V&A exhibition called Style and Subversion marked a revival in interest in post-modernism.

Though the style is an important strand of late 20th century architecture, post-modern buildings can be vulnerable to change and loss, which is why these examples have been selected for listing, Historic England said.

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Aztec West, Bristol, Somerset. is an office building designed in the post-modern style (Historic England/PA)

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “Post-modern architecture brought fun and colour to our streets.

“Housing schemes were enlivened with bold facades, a school technology building was decorated with columns designed as screws, a business park injected with glamour.

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The technology block at Bryanston School, Blandford, Dorset features columns in the shape of screws (Historic England/PA)

“These are scarce survivals of a really influential period of British architecture and these buildings deserve the protection that listing gives them.”

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