Paradise Lost, History in the Unmaking is a feature-length essay film about Birmingham Central Library and the death of Modernism. In a world where neoliberalism has taken over as the dominant economic model, and the people have forgotten the promises of their Modernist forbearers, one building stood as a testament to the promise of Paradise. Decried by the Council as an eyesore but hailed by Historic England as an exemplar of postwar design, the story of John Madin’s concrete colossus and the fight to save it is a curious one. In this psychogeographic detective story, Andy Howlett weaves together archive footage with on-the-ground explorations in an attempt to figure out what went wrong with yesterday’s future.

Budapest150: How to make visible and protect our modernist architectural heritage?


Andy Howlett is an artist, filmmaker and amateur skateboarder based in Birmingham, UK. He is interested in collective walking, architecture, time travel, urban exploration, guerrilla heritage, community cinema, public space and the right to the city.