Midcentury Show East at Haggerston School
Grade II-listed brutalist school building
Architect: Erno Goldfinger
Date built: 1964-1965
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.
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.
Goldfinger’s brutalist architecture provides the perfect setting for Mid Century Show East, an 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 was sadly not in a position (either logistically or financially) to buy anything.