DECADES (2017)

This is a journey through the years that transformed victorian industrial manchester into the modern european city that stands today. through a series of prominent buildings we will travel from the emergence of the welfare state in the 1950s; through the optimistic white heat of technology in the 60s; the rise of services and finance over manufacturing in the 70s; arriving at the 1980s consumer culture that brings us to the present day.

The story told by the buildings on this haphazard ramble through the city is clearly mancunian but the themes would no doubt be the same in provincial cities across the united kingdom. some of the buildings would even share the same names. the story is one of enforced devastation by war, followed by the planned devastation of redevelopment. optimistic and visionary masterplans becoming watered-down with piecemeal making-do and mending. well-intentioned investments in the future becoming rapidly obsolete, technically and politically. global shifts in capital reflected in the urban fabric and inflicted upon the lives of ordinary citizens. the upshot is that this recent history can be told, but better still experienced and seen, on a daily basis. the fundamental influences of the past century can be read from the edifices around us, reminding us of both the mistakes of the past and the continual human endeavour to create something better than what went before . . .

In a nod to iconic Manchester band Joy Division, ‘Decades’ tells the story of Manchester’s architectural evolution using track names from the bands seminal albums, ‘Unknown Pleasures’ and ‘Closer’. Like a soundtrack accompanying the publication, track names ‘Isolation’, ‘An ideal for living’ and ‘She’s lost control’ act as headings that capture poignant moments in the city’s redevelopment.

This is a limited edition publication celebrating the architecture of Manchester's post war decades. A collaboration between writer James Thorp, photographer Emily Marshall and designer Jonathan Hitchen

Published by the Modernist Society, this is the second of three publications to be produced in 2016/17 celebrating and investigating twentieth century architecture in Manchester with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. With special thanks to G.F.Smith Papers.

Limited edition of 300 available here

200x 120mm

36 pages with fold out timelines and photographs

ISBN: 978--9955481--38