Alison and Peter Smithson

Many of the finest examples of the Brutalism movement in the country owe their origins to a group of architectural students at Kings College, Newcastle during the 1940s.

Brutalists most famed protagonists, Alison Gill and Peter Smithson met whilst studying architecture at Kings College. Peter, who was older than Alison, shared a class with Gordon Ryder, both of whom later came to teach Alison and her classmate, Jack Lynn. (Known collectively as the Newcastle Group)

The Smithsons moved to London in 1949 having won the competition for Hunstanton School, whilst Gordon Ryder left his post at the university to work for Lubetkin at Peterlee. However, competition entries from the early 1950s show similarities between the work of Alison and Peter and that of their Newcastle associates, Gordon Ryder and Jack Lynn, then working together. Indeed the subsequent design for the Park Hill flats in Sheffield (1957-1961) by Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith with its revolutionary streets-in-the-sky, was said to be inspired directly by the Smithson’s un-built competition entry for a housing scheme in London.