Slacklands 2 by Corinna Dean review – beauty of our forgotten architecture

Dean’s photographs capture unintended poetry in rural Britain’s abandoned water towers, brickworks and wartime defences

Some of the best architecture happens when its creators are looking the other way – side elevations rather than imposing facades, kitchens and stables in great palaces, chimneys and roof trusses and other functional items. Something good happens when the anxiety to impress is removed, and an architect or builder can just get on with solving a practical problem with a degree of grace.

So it is with most of the structures in Slacklands 2 in which the architectural curator and teacher Corinna Dean follows up her 2014 book Slacklands with further images of what she calls “rural contemporary architecture of the 20th century”. Her examples are such things as the ancillary structures of dams, military installations, water towers, mine headframes. What makes them striking is that they follow logic outside the usual run of houses and farm buildings, as often as not made inscrutable by the passage of time – whatever considerations once guided them tends to be forgotten.

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