This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Chamberlin, Powell & Bon

Front cover for Chamberlin, Powell & Bon

Paperback by Elain Harwood


Buy from bookshop

  • Chamberlin, Powell and Bon are the architects behind London's epic Barbican development - this is the first published study of their work
  • Contains stunning new photography, new plans and previously unseen archival material

The Barbican is one of London's landmarks and Britain's largest listed building, yet its architects, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon (CPB), are little known today.  Their leader, Peter (Joe) Chamberlin, died young and little of their archive survives.  But detective work has revealed a complex story about three determined characters and a surprising variety of fascinating architecture.

Chamberlin worked on the Festival of Britain, but the practice was formed only in 1952 when Geoffry Powell won a housing competition in London. The resulting Golden Lane Estate is as light and brightly-coloured as the adjoining Barbican that followed is monumental. In between the firm produced a range of buildings that pushed concrete technology to its limits, including houses and schools, Murray Edwards College (New Hall) in Cambridge, and major extensions to Leeds University. These projects are beginning to be recognised as among the best buildings of the 1960s; this book explains how they happened.

The author, Elain Harwood, is a historian with English Heritage specialising in post-war architecture, and has researched the work of Chamberlin, Powell and Bon for many years, initially to secure the listing of the best examples. The book is illustrated with images from CPB's rediscovered archive and specially commissioned colour photography by James O. Davies, and is an essential read for architects, students, architectural historians and anyone who is interested in learning more about a key practice in British post-war architecture.

This book has been commissioned as part of a series of books on Twentieth Century Architects by RIBA Publishing, English Heritage and The Twentieth Century Society.


  •  Introduction
  • 1. Who were Chamberlin, Powell and Bon?
  • 2. Lightness and Colour: the Golden Lane Estate and other Early Works 
  • 3. Towards a Concrete Aesthetic in Education
  • 4. Master Planning (mainly) Frustrated
  • 5. Leeds University
  • 6. The Barbican
  • List of Works
  • Index
  • Picture Credits

Additional Information

  • Printed Price: £20.00
  • Series: Architectural History
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Format: Paperback
  • Physical Size: 234 x 167 mm
  • Pages: 160
  • Illustration: 120, Colour and b&w
  • Product Code: 51672
  • ISBN: 9781859463970


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Fax: 01793 414926
Textphone: 0800 015 0516

Was this page helpful?

Chamberlin Powell and Bon

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Great Arthur House, Golden Lane, London (English Heritage, DP101127)
  • Frobisher Crescent and Cromwell Tower, Barbican, London (English Heritage, DP099332)
  • Baskerville House, Golden Lane, London (English Heritage, DP101114)
  • Bousfield School, South Kensington, London
  • Two Saints School, London
  • New Hall (Murray Edwards College), Cambridge (English Heritage, DP136423)
  • Interior of Roger Stevens Building, Leeds University (English Heritage, DP136621)
  • Rear of lecture theatre, Leeds University
  • The Barbican Theatre (English Heritage, DP136621)
  • The Barbican from the air
  • 1956 proposal for The Barbican by Gordon Cullen
  • Perspective of the final scheme at The Barbican by Norah Glover (English Heritage, DP136621)

Related publications

Also of interest...