Royal National Theatre © Pawel Libera / RIBA Library Photographs Collection 1976
The son of an engineer who died when he was a child, Denys Lasdun studied architecture at the Architectural Association in London, during which time he won an award for the design of a student’s hostel.
Before the Second World War, Lasdun worked with Wells Coates, one of the founders of the Modern Architecture Research Group (MARS). During the war, Lasdun enlisted with the Royal Engineers Airfield Construction Company, building advance airfields, and was involved in the D-Day landings.
Born: 1914 (-2001)
In 1937, after designing and building a house on his own at 32 Newton Road, Paddington, London, Lasdun joined Tecton with Partners Lubetkin, Skinner and Drake. Tecton was dissolved in 1948. In 1952, Lasdun joined Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew to look after their office while they worked on the new capital city of Chandigarh.
© Lasdun Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection circa 1990
Denys Lasdun & Partners was established in 1959, with the most significant work being the Royal National Theatre in London. The National Theatre was considered either as an icon of post-war modern architecture or as similar in design to a nuclear power station. In later years, the building was considered to illustrate Lasdun’s work as a pioneer of post-war modernism in Britain who transformed the pre-war white modernism into a richer style.
© Lasdun Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection 1970
Buildings by Lasdun:
- 32 Newton Road, Paddington, London, 1937
- Hallfield Primary School, Paddington, London, 1951
- Usk Street housing, Bethnal Green, London, 1957
- Keeling House, London, 1959
- student housing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, 1968
- Sports Centre at the University of Liverpool, 1963
- Royal National Theatre, London, 1976
The Brutalist Playground is a new commission by Assemble and artist Simon Terrill exploring post-war design for play.
The exhibition is open at the RIBA from 10 June to 16 August 2015.
Entry is free.