Ian Nairn (1930–1983) was a British architectural critic and topographer who made his name with a special issue of the Architectural Review in which he coined the term ‘subtopia’ to describe the areas around cities that had, in his view, been failed by urban planning, losing their individuality and spirit of place. In the 1960s he contributed to the volumes on Surrey and Sussex in Nikolaus Pevsner’s Buildings of England series and wrote a number of his own books, including Nairn’s Paris and Nairn’s Towns, both published by Notting Hill Editions. He also presented several BBC television series. His work has influenced writers as diverse as J. G. Ballard, Will Self, Iain Sinclair and Patrick Wright. A noted drinker, Nairn’s work is full of descriptions of pubs and recommendations for beers. He died in 1983 aged fifty-three.
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