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Postwar visions of apocalypse and architectural culture: The Architectural Review's turn to ecology
In the post-war era, Hubert de Cronin Hastings, the owner and editor (until 1971) of the English periodical The Architectural Review (AR), saw mankind facing its demise through its own scientific creation, the atom bomb. Hastings's editorial policies for the AR were very much influenced by the prospect of impending nuclear disaster during the Cold War and the decline of the British Empire in a world divided into the mandates of two superpowers. While the post-war period brought mistrust of the promise of emancipation through technology and science for those like Hastings, for others there was all the more reason to believe in these ideals with the dawning of a consumerist society and the development of pop culture. Within this cultural context AR aimed to develop and sustain an environmental culture as a holistic strategy in order to respond to planning problems. Targeting not only architects but local and national authorities as well as the 'man on the street', AR launched a series of campaigns that aimed to increase environmental awareness against post-war industrial transformation and the rise of consumerism. After the decline of the affluent consumer society of the 1960s and the devaluation of the pound in 1967, AR revamped its structure and contents and launched its 'Manplan' campaign, reacting against economic crisis and environmental decline. Taking issue with 'Non-Plan: An Experiment in Freedom' written by Reyner Banham, Peter Hall, Paul Barker and Cedric Price in New Society in 1969, 'Manplan' demanded centralization and comprehensive planning against decentralization and dispersal as a means of planning democracy. According to the editors, scientific progress enjoined to consumer culture and ever-expanding economic growth brought a ruthless exploitation of resources as well as destruction of the natural landscape. Before the journal itself went into economic crisis and Hastings left the editorial board, the first issue of the pioneering journal The Ecologist themed 'A Blueprint for Survival' was brought on the board's agenda by Hastings. In the light of global warming and increasing rate of environmental disasters today, the history of AR's editorial campaigns deserve renewed interest. This paper focuses on the neo-romantic ideology that underlay the post-war editorial policies of AR motivated by approaching environmental disaster within the continuum of a quarter century.