Architecture and ‘national projection’ between the wars
in Cultural identities and the aesthetics of Britishness
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During the 1930s, and for some time after, the phrase 'national projection' became widely used to describe a particular form of official propaganda. The example of architecture, and its potential, had been central to the earliest and most influential vision of national projection, the one sketched out by its main advocate Sir Stephen Tallents in The Projection of England. National projection was about the conveyance of a group of images of England and approved new subject matter: industry, tourism, universities, scientific research. The United Kingdom Pavilion for the Empire Exhibition, Johannesburg, had been the tallest and one of the two most prominent buildings in the 1936 exhibition. Reactions to the British Pavilion were predominantly hostile. The main criticisms were that it was indecorous or undignified and insufficiently British. Attacks on the pavilion tended not to distinguish its exhibits from their container: 'dignity' was at stake in both.

Editor: Dana Arnold

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