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Emberton, Joseph

Emberton, Joseph (1889–1956). English architect. He worked with Burnet and Tait from 1918 to 1922, when he established a practice with Percy James Westwood (1878–1958). The firm introduced a vaguely Islamic style to the various kiosks for the British Empire Exhibition, Wembley, Mddx. (1924–5—demolished). They also designed Summit House, Holborn (1925), for Austin Reed, which showed Burnet & Tait's influence. He refaced and extended the exhibition-halls at Olympia, Hammersmith Road, London, in a ‘grim and sensational’ Modernistic style in 1929–30, as Pevsner put it, which looks like concrete, but is, in fact, of steel and rendered brick, the details ‘borrowed from progressive Continental buildings such as the Einstein Tower’ by Mendelsohn in Potsdam. To the rear, the new entrance-hall towards Sinclair Road (1936) is ‘quieter’ and ‘well-proportioned’. This tendency towards conventional International Modernism continued with the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (1930–1), an early example of the style in England, and this was followed by Simpson's Department Store, Piccadilly, London (1935–6), which Pevsner pronounced ‘progressive’, with the ‘new idiom’ handled ‘with conviction’: the building has a pioneering welded-steel frame. Clearly Mendelsohn was the main influence on Emberton, as can be seen from 363–7 Oxford Street, London (1938–9), and the Casino, South Shore, Blackpool, North Lancs. (1937–8).

Bibliography

Architectural Association, viii/3 (1976), 51–9;
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004);
Pevsner (ed.): Buildings of England, London 1 (1973),
London 3 (1991)

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