This essay considers the intersection between trends in British fiction and architecture during the socially and culturally transformative years of the late 1950s. Reading Colin MacInnes’s Absolute Beginners (1959) alongside Alison and Peter Smithson’s New Brutalism-inspired House of the Future (1956), the essay argues that the architectural and literary innovations of this period turned away from the recent past to create a new set of narrative and material codes that valued poetic renderings of reality, transparency, fluidity, and the freedom to move and to consume at will.


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