RARE BOOKS AT CANTERBURY. BridgeBuildings + The Shipshape


This publication is the fourth installment of the Architectural Association’s coveted  Folio Series.

A black clamshell box contains 26 reproductions of Peter Wilson’s drawing and a booklet with introduction by Bruno Minardi  and an interview by Alvin Boyarsky with Peter L. Wilson.

Published to coincide with an exhibition at the Architectural Association from 6 Nov. to 6 Dec. 1984.


Peter Wilson’s work demonstrates a passion for drawing as much as the architectural project. There is a sense of mechanism inherent throughout his work. He uses his architectural drawing as a tool of representation and research. In 2013 he was awarded the AAA Gold Medal.



Rare Books at Canterbury. Outrage by Ian Nairn

The focus for this blog is a reprint [1956] of the June 1955, Special Number of the Architectural Review.

Nairn wrote the text with the hope it would make the audience angry enough to do something about the perceived destruction of their surroundings. He hoped to ignite public opinion; Nairn wanted to change the heart and direction of Public Authorities.


‘This “1955” on the land surface will become “1984” on ourselves’.

Nairn established his reputation with the special issue of The Architectural Review called “Outrage”.  It was based around a road trip that Nairn took from the south to the north of the country. This trip propelled his fears that society was heading for a drab and dreary new world where the whole of Britain would look like the fringes of a town, every view exactly the same. He coined the term ‘Subtopia’ to describe those areas around cities, which in his view had been failed by urban planning.


This thing of terror, which will get you up sweating at night when you begin to realize its true proportions, we have called, as we say, Subtopia.’

The conclusion in this book is a short anthology of the philosophical background to Subtopia stated in its widest terms, from the nineteenth-century prophecy to the time of this publication and beyond with mankind’s reaction to the outcome.



Rare Books at Canterbury

The Canterbury Rare Book Collection, offers the opportunity to explore rare and unique publications.

The focus for this blog is a large boxed folio of text and colour plates of Nicolas de Staél, text by R.V. Gindertael / translated from the French by F. McFarland and published by Methuen in 1961, Cat. No.2/6601/1.


The text on Nicholas de Staél, considers the development of his work. From the period of his painting known as the ‘epoque elue’ where  he combines fusion of the visionary and physical worlds with the essential properties of medium. The text considers the importance of the tactile impressions created by medium which stay throughout his de Staél’s work. Through interrogation of the artists composition, the artist’s beliefs are also examined.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES“I need to feel the presence of life all around me, and to grasp it in its entirety, as I feel it…”            De Staél

Roger Van Gindertael, who created the text in this publication was a Belgian painter of Expressionist landscapes and figures.  He was also the co-founder of the art magazine ‘Hélianthe’ and jointly on ‘La Nervie’. He eventually abandoned painting to become an art critic of the post-war Abstract movement.