Past Exhibitions

Gritty Brits: New London Architecture

January 20, 2007 – June 3, 2007



In recent years a new generation of architects has emerged in London.  

This generation is intimately engaged with England’s contemporary urban condition, colonizing previously overlooked sites and designing new structures that fit into the existing building stock in often surprising ways. In particular, these “Gritty Brits” operate in and around London’s East End, a context that is post-industrial and multicultural, home to both recent economic immigrants and today’s successful Young British Artists. 

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Gritty Brits presents recent work by six architectural practices: Adjaye/Associates, Caruso St. John Architects, FAT [Fashion Architecture Taste], Níall McLaughlin Architects, muf, and Sergison Bates architects. All born in the 1960s, these architects are conscious of the legacy of architects and artists of earlier generations. Running through their work are echoes of English architectural culture of the 1950s and early 1960s, a period in which High Modernist beliefs in functionalism and rationality were being reappraised in the aftermath of World War II, in which issues of construction were valued together with a sense of what is now called Pop culture.


They approach architecture not from an abstract theoretical position but in a more empirical manner that allows them to make use of whatever seems most appropriate in a given situation. As they respond to an eclectic society where alternative lifestyles co-exist alongside myriad ethnic groups, they are creating new programmatic types and using materials and ornament in inventive ways.

Through models, photographs, drawings, film, and DVDs, the exhibition will transmit some flavor of London today, a city that benefits from the grain of time and history while also undergoing tremendous economic and social change. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue designed by Graphic Thought Facility (GTF), London.

Exhibition Credits

The programs of the Heinz Architectural Center are made possible by the generosity of the Drue Heinz Trust. General support for museum programs is provided by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and The Heinz Endowments. 

Installation Views