Ernő Goldfinger (1902-87) is one of the most celebrated modern architects to work in Britain in the twentieth century. Born in Hungary and trained in Paris, he was subject to influences that he synthesised in his work: the craft of producing fine concrete with classical refinement of composition from his teacher Auguste Perret, the drama of scale from the work of Le Corbusier, and from Adolf Loos, a special sensitivity in handling interior space and respecting local character. Goldfinger’s career among the great names of modern art and architecture in Paris was diverted when he married the artist Ursula Blackwell and settled in London in 1934, designing furniture, shop interiors and a few houses up to 1939. In his career after 1945, Goldfinger brought a distinctive European sophistication to the architecture of his adopted culture, but while respected by fellow architects and elected to membership of the Royal Academy, he remained an outsider in English Modernism. Only when in 1996 the National Trust opened his own pre-war home in Hampstead with its fine collection of abstract and surrealist art, and his dramatic late residential slab blocks, Balfron and Trellick towers became part of a cult of Brutalism, did his star begin to rise. He now enjoys a fame never enjoyed during his lifetime.
Written by two leading experts of mid-century architecture, this is the first detailed survey of the full range of Goldfinger’s work. It is stunningly illustrated by new photography as well as images and plans from Goldfinger’s own extensive archive.
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