Lesson / Koan : Heaven on our Earth…or…Our Earth, Our Haven.
UTOPIA LONDON is a new feature length documentary that explores London’s recent architectural history. The film observes the method and practise of the Modernist architects who rebuilt London after World War Two.
Before the film & before the rebuilding came a plan. The County of London Plan (1943) was the first positive move towards promoting the modern London of today. The first ever published “bubble diagram” was also part of the County of London Plan. The London “bubble diagram” was drawn by Arthur Ling and D.K. Johnson in 1943 as part of the comprehensive 1943 ‘County of London Plan’, which was the responsibility of Patrick Abercrombie. London’s image as a city of villages stems from this diagram. The plan noted that London had ‘a highly organized and interrelated system of communities as one of its main characteristics…’
The film shows how they revolutionised life in the city in the wake of destruction from war and the poor living conditions inherited from the Industrial Revolution.
Utopia London travels through the recent history of the city where the film maker grew up. Utopia London finds the architects who designed, planned and reunites the city with the buildings they created.
This visually stunning film will change the way you look at the city.
Sir Leslie Patrick Abercrombie is best known for the post-Second World War replanning of London. He created the County of London Plan (1943) and the Greater London Plan (1944) which are commonly referred to as the Abercrombie Plan. The latter document was an extended and more thorough product than the 1943 publication, and for Abercrombie it was an accumulation of nearly 50 years of experience and knowledge in the field of planning and architecture.
In 1945, Abercrombie published A Plan for the City & County of Kingston upon Hull, with the assistance of Sir Edwin Lutyens. Lutyens had died the year before publication whilst much of the plan was being finalised, and the plan was ultimately rejected by the Councillors of Hull.
From the Abercrombie Plan plan came the New Towns movement which included the building of Harlow and Crawley and the largest ‘out-county’ estate, Harold Hill in north-east London. Patrick Abercrombie was knighted in 1945.
During the postwar years, Sir Patrick Abercrombie was commissioned by the British government to redesign Hong Kong.
In 1948, Abercrombie became the first president of the newly formed group the International Union of Architects, or the UIA (Union Internationale des Architectes).
These young idealists were once united around a vision of using science and art to create a city of equal citizens. Their architecture fused William Morris with urban high-rise; ancient parkland with concrete.
Utopia London examines the, social and political agendas of the time in which the city was rebuilt. The story goes on to explore how the meaning of these transformative buildings has been radically manipulated over subsequent decades. Inspired by the optimism of the past it poses the question; where do we go from here and now?
The young idealist envisioning a new post-war London were the following :