A Contrast Many lives contain contrasts. In Joseph Emberton's there is a contrast between his bad experiences serving in World War 1 on the one hand and his very positive view of the future shining through his subsequent design work. According to his widow Kathleen he had regular nightmares from the war. In fact I am sure I remember that she said these occurred every night. At the same time other family members and people who knew him said that he was always interested in the future, how things were to be better for everyone in the decades ahead. For him the past was chaos, and the future was about reason and logic. For him the future was a better place, with better living standards all round, because of science and reason. In fact, he went around the country giving public lectures about this.
Architecture for the Masses Joe's design output during the late 1920s and the 1930s was enormous. And the scope and range of the projects reflect changes in society, with more upward mobility and greater leisure choice, exemplified in the following projects:
Olympia Exhibition Halls - dealing with large numbers of visitors for enormous floor spaces, with its own rail connection and also the pioneering multi-storey car park he designed adjacent.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach - Joe masterplanned the evolutionary update for this pleasure park, and designed it comprehensively with a diverse design team, from smallest detail to the overall theme. Its Casino building addressed the issue of providing a large variety of meals for a large number of people in short time and was a sort of precursor of the modern motorway service area.
Austin Reed, DAKS Simpson, Lotus Shoes, HMV - the stores and shops he designed for these brands were part of a wave of improving living standards for a broad part of the population. As a famous writer pointed out, the ordinary person in the street could now for example, with credit, go and buy a mass-produced off-the-peg suit and be as smart as anyone else. Austin Reed and DAKS were pioneers of high quality off-the-peg tailoring.
During the second world war he designed prefabricated houses made from steel, and after it he worked on social housing projects around London - some of them hi-rise.
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