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CASE STUDY: Economist Plaza


Architects

Alison and Peter Smithson

Dates

1959-1964

Description

The Economist ensemble of buildings and public space is both contextual and radical. Contextual in that it bows to the scale and massing of the much older buildings around it, uses traditional as well as newer materials, and is by a private architecture firm, Alison and Peter Smithson, for a private client, the Economist Newspaper. Radical in that the Smithsons saw the design as both responding to and transcending place, as part of its local area and part of a new urban system, in which the interior of the urban block was opened up to the public, rather than shut off by its perimeter. In the words of the Smithsons, “The group looks forward to other groups … towards the collectivity of the yet unbuilt” (Charged Void: Urbanism. 66).

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