"Bloody fools,
bloody fools"


In the first of three movies filmed at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Reinier de Graaf of OMA talks about Pimlico School, a brutalist building in London that was demolished last year and which features in OMA's Public Works exhibition of "masterpieces by bureaucrats" at the biennale.

Reinier de Graf of OMA on masterpieces by bureaucrats

Pimlico School was designed by John Bancroft of the Greater London Council's architecture department and was constructed in the 1960s. Its demolition to make room for a new building followed a long campaign to have it listed. "The architect campaigned very actively but he wasn't a star architect," de Graaf told Dezeen. "They took him to the demolition site and all he could murmur was 'bloody fools, bloody fools.'"

Reinier de Graf of OMA on masterpieces by bureaucrats

De Graaf explains that although they weren't credited by name for their work, architects working in government departments during the 1960 and 1970s created buildings with "enormous vitality and an impressive social mission."

Reinier de Graf of OMA on masterpieces by bureaucrats

Read more about the exhibition in our earlier story | See all our coverage from the Venice Architecture Biennale

  • zizi

    Good riddance! More demolitions of horrors like this please!

  • sam w

    Yes this was an eyesore. Walking past this made me feel depressed – let alone going to school there!

  • Woycester 89

    Ten times the project that most renderings on Dezeen are. A shame to destroy it, bloody fools!

  • Waney Edge

    I toured the school with the headmaster about 10 years ago. He outlined many flaws: too many entrances caused a security nightmare. It was thermally inefficient, overheating in summer yet freezing in winter. He also spent his weekends removing asbestos. It was certainly a daring design that divided opinions. I think it’s brutal aesthetic is a type that architects are drawn to but others find repellent. Either way, it’s gone now, so let’s hope someone designs a great piece of architecture to replace it.

    • Benjamin
    • Andreas

      Pretty much all historical buildings in London are thermally inefficient. Asbestos can be removed. Demolished due to security issues?

      Let's face it; they just didn't like the way it looked.

  • What’s next? The Barbican? Fckn bloody fools they are.

  • Chris pierre

    Westminster council wanted the building gone. It reminded them too much of the free thinking ethos of the school itself. An amazing (but unloved & uncared for) building has been lost along with a fabulous (albeit with problems) school to be replaced by a monumentally bland building that only used half the site (so luxury housing can be built on the other half when the political climate changes) that houses an academy that turns out little robots programmed by the “future” sponsors who will make a packet when the luxury flats get the go ahead. A travesty, both architecturally and educationally.

  • Christopher Moore


    It seems to me to be emblematic of societies that look to the past with nostalgia though. These buildings were built when Britain was a progressive, forward-looking nation, and I feel like we've never really grown into buildings like this.

    It's a bit like American automotive design, trapped in a time they wish they still inhabited. And playing it very safe.