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

NATIONAL THEATRE

Denys Lasdun, London 1976

© Heartbrut.com / Karin Hunter Bürki

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If architecture is frozen music and dance is language without words that speaks about freedom, then Denys Lasdun’s clever manipulations of geometry connect the two as a united idea. The National’s menagerie of fierce concrete, interlocking terraces and carefully choreographed shapes forces one to constantly recalibrate 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 realised, but only 18 years to receive Grade II listing. Lasdun’s tough 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 a vital part of London’s cityscape.

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