A new image every month celebrating architecture, chosen from RIBApix, where you will discover over 70,000 images on architecture, landscape and the decorative arts.
This month’s image is of the vaulted bus shelter at Newbury Park. This reinforced concrete structure is the boldest part of Oliver Hill’s design for the reconstruction of a Victorian station. In 1981 the shelter was Grade II listed.
Hill’s life was deeply affected by the two world wars. Not only was his career disrupted by World War II, but so were some ambitious building plans by London Transport. In 1937 he was chosen by Frank Pick to design a new Underground station at Newbury Park, as part of the extension of the Central line, with an adjoining bus station to create additional capacity for more traffic – truly integrated transport. The halt to work during hostilities meant the station wasn’t opened until 1949. In the post-war era Hill found himself out of fashion and with few commissions. “Oliver Hill never forgave Hitler for ruining his career. He never recovered the position he had enjoyed before 1939” (Powers, p.50).
For Hill the after-effects of World War I, in which he served, were different. He would be influenced by the new architecture on the Continent which was emerging from the horrors of conflict. His Arts and Crafts style and the influence of Lutyens waned, and he converted to Modernism in 1930 after seeing the Stockholm Exhibition. What followed was a decade of remarkable buildings which brought him to prominence, including the Midland Hotel in Morecambe, the British Pavilion at the 1937 Paris Exhibition and a series of white Modernist houses. Fortunately many of his greatest buildings survive – the Midland Hotel underwent a major refurbishment and reopened in 2008 – and his archive was given to the RIBA where it remains today as part of the collections at the British Architectural Library.
- Architects’ Journal, 22 December 1949. Covered bus station at Newbury Park. p.714-716.
- Powers, A., 1989. Oliver Hill: architect and lover of life 1887-1968. London: Mouton.