Midcentury Show East at Haggerston School

Midcentury Show East at Haggerston School
Grade II-listed brutalist school building
Architect: Erno Goldfinger
Date built: 1964-1965

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I hope the kids that attend this inner-city secondary school realise how lucky they are to be surrounded by all of this spectacular Goldfinger-designed brutalist architecture.

Constructed between 1964 and 1965 in Goldfinger’s signature style, the school is a key example of Goldfinger’s approach to space and his innovative use of materials (mainly grey and sludge-coloured concrete).

The school comprises three main separate but connected blocks. A two-storey, double height entrance annexe contains the assembly hall and some administrative offices, which is connected via a glazed walkway to the main teaching building, a rectangular, four-storey, concrete-frame classroom block whose facade is divided into a continuous series of four-window bays. A sports block is located at the far end of the site. A sculpturally cast spiral concrete staircase pirouetting up from the first floor of the entrance annexe and a soaring water tower shaft serve to break up the flat roofline.

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Due to a very sympathetic refurbishment in recent years, all of Goldinger’s original details, such as the recessed wall pockets for opened doors, the exposed waffle slab to the double-height lobby and the decorative carved concrete wall in the assembly hall have been retained and restored.

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Goldfinger’s brutalist architecture provides the perfect setting for Mid Century Show East, an expensive furniture and accessories fair held semi-regularly at the school. The calibre of stock here is at the top end both in terms of provenance and condition (definitely a step up from Judy’s Vintage Furniture Fair, which I wrote about in March) with both professional dealers and buyers in attendance. I obviously didn’t buy anything.

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