Friday, 30 May 2014


Ian Nairn - Words in Place
Gillian Darley and David McKie
Five Leaves, Nottingham, 2013

Architecture critic and polemicist Ian Nairn seems to have finally been deemed worthy of reappraisal by the academy that he never wanted to be part of. The past year has seen a few press features, a nice BBC documentary and even the reprint of some of his books.

Words is Place is an introduction to Nairn's life and career, not quite as fulfilling as its subject's own writing but certainly of interest to anyone new to Nairn. His prose is usually engaging and informative; those that write about him are more varied in their abilities.
Young and angry

Old and bitter

If you cannot get hold of any of his books, the films he made for television just as good, better in some respects as the viewer really gets to see and hear the apoplectic rage and outpourings of love he had for buildings and places. 'Passion' is a much abused word. Nairn had real passion, which combined with his own private demons and eventually tore him apart.

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