Built quickly and cheaply, the Reliance Factory was one of the first of a new style of futuristic buildings…

Electronic components factory for Reliance Controls Limited

Image (enlarge): Factory for Reliance Controls Limited, Swindon, 1967
Architect: Team 4
© RIBA Library Photographs Collection
Image from RIBApix

The Reliance Factory might seem at first glance an unlikely icon, but it was a crucial building in the story of British architecture’s transformation in the post-war years. Designed by Richard Rogers and Norman Foster’s collaborative ‘Team 4’ practice in 1967, this was one of the young global stars to be’s first buildings and it was a revelation. With its simple use of cheap sheet materials, exposed joints and external bracing, it was an early glimpse of a new approach to building in the UK that would go on to become known as ‘High Tech.’ Principles developed here on the obscure outskirts of Swindon, would later go on to influence some of the world’s greatest modern buildings, including the Pompidou in Paris and others.

Article by Mike Althorpe, RIBA
Curator of The Brits Who Built the Modern World


About Wilson Yau
I work for the British Architectural Library at the RIBA as part of a team to share news, images and information online about the activities of the Library and the fascinating items we have in our architectural collections – it contains over four million items, so there's plenty to see! If you’re curious about what we do at the Library and with the collections, or want to discover the latest about our education programmes, public events and exhibitions at the RIBA, please visit www.architecture.com

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