Will Self, professor of contemporary thought at Brunel, on Owen Hatherley:
Key to Hatherley’s vision therefore is a spirited, autobiographical rejection of the narrative that Brutalism brutalises, on which the consensus about postwar British urban development now rests. In his persistent remembrance of those ‘excitingly modern’ things past, Hatherley hasn’t merely equivocated about the architecture of such notorious concretised dark stars as London’s Thamesmead and Robin Hood Gardens, or Sheffield’s Park Hill: he has been a passionate proselytiser. Thamesmead’s isolation and the GLC’s policy of dumping tenants on the estate may have been a strong impetus to downward mobility, but nothing should detract from the fact that ‘this is basically a working-class Barbican, and if it were in EC1 rather than SE28 the price of a flat would be astronomical.’ Hatherley waxes eloquent on its central ‘unbelievably long interconnected block’, praises it for being ‘flood-proof and still architecturally cohesive’, and pours scorn on those ‘hack directors’ – Stanley Kubrick prominent among them – who have made it their ‘urban decay set of choice’. If he has one caveat about the aesthetics of the development it’s that it was ‘always shockingly urban for its outer-suburban context’.