NATIONAL THEATRE, LONDON, DESIGNED BY DENYS LASDUN, 1976 I © HEARTBRUT / KARIN HUNTER BÜRKI

NATIONAL THEATRE

Denys Lasdun, London 1976
Words & Photography: Karin Bürki

Words & Photography: Karin Bürki

If architecture is frozen music and dance is language without words that speaks of freedom, then Denys Lasdun’s clever manipulations of geometry unite the two into a single idea. The National’s menagerie of fierce concrete, interlocking terraces and carefully choreographed shapes demands constant recalibration of one’s vision. Grand but not imposing, dramatic but refined: whatever is playing inside, the architecture is the main act.

The National Theatre took 13 years to be built, but only 18 years to receive Grade II listed status. Lasdun’s stark yet powerful brutalist landscape has proved remarkably adaptable to change. Following a careful refurbishment in 2015, the cultural hotspot looks better than ever. It has become an integral part of London’s cityscape.

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