The Smithsons’ Brutalist Tower is Restored in London

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Embedded within a posh neighborhood, the Smithsons’ renewed Economist Building aims to give back public space—but can it?

St. James is one of those districts of London, even the U.K., where the British aristocracy really makes itself visible. Rather than sequestered in country estates, or rearing its head for the odd wedding pageant, aristocracy in St. James is on full display, from the upmarket retailers of “Gentlemen’s attire” to royal cheesemongers, making the nation’s upper class seem yet more ridiculous (and powerful). All the more bizarre then, that the last London building by Alison and Peter Smithson—two of the most progressive and experimental architects to emerge from the U.K., if anywhere in the twentieth century—should be here…

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