The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Events Archive

Carl Ludwig Franck and the Brasilia of Islington





14.00 – 16.30 Sunday 20th October 2019

Led by: James Dunnett

Carl Ludwig Franck (1904-1985), Rome Scholar and pupil of Hans Poelzig, emigrated to the UK from Berlin in 1937, working first of Lubetkin and Tecton and later for Joseph Emberton, whom in 1956 he succeeded as chief housing architect for the Borough of Finsbury, with a remit effectively to rebuild it on a new pattern. It was the same year as the inception of Brasilia whose architects Costa and Niemeyer, his near contemporaries, had the same ambitions to create a Green City. Franck carried forward this ideal from Tecton and Emberton and, aided by the efforts of the Luftwaffe, was able to realise it on a much larger scale in a Borough which pre-war was almost devoid of greenery.  Like Niemeyer, Franck was fond of curves and his architecture reflects the same era. The walk will follow the work of Tecton, Emberton, and Franck in Finsbury, with especial attention to the green spaces they created around their buildings as part of the New City.  It will include Bevin Court and Finsbury Health Centre (Tecton), Finsbury Esate (Franck), Brunswick Estate (Emberton), King Square Estate and Pleydell Estates (Franck), and Stafford Cripps Estate (Emberton)


James Dunnett studied architecture at Cambridge under Professor Sir Leslie Martin and sculpture at St Martin’s under Sir Anthony Caro, and subsequently worked for Ernö Goldfinger RA, and for the Department of Architecture of the London Borough of Camden at a time when it was producing social housing recognized for its quality around the world. 

Meet time/place: 2.00pm at south side of Myddleton Square Gardens, London EC1R 1XX (nearest tube Angel)

Finish time/place: Approx 4.30pm at the southern end of Goswell Road, from which there is easy access to the Angel or Barbican tube stations by bus or on foot. 

Members: £15  Non members: £22