Welcome to the willofmemory website. This is a work-in-progress site that looks at the effects of traumatic memory on architecture and the built environment. It developed from a hunch that Sixties architecture could be understood as a response to the trauma of the First World War. In brief, this site proposes that the landscape of the Western Front provides the essential model for what is commonly known as ‘Sixties architecture’.

[Latest update: Wednesday 13 January 2010, new entry in general speculation blog on meaning]

The contents have been imported from an earlier blogsite, at You can contact the author, Rory O’Callaghan, by emailing

To begin on a whimsical note, I find the following quotes useful in the way they pinpoint, unintentionally, how the Western Front echoed down through the 20th century:

Echoes of War

Boomboom, Boomboom, Boomboom. (footnote 1)

Boom, Boom, Boom. (2)

Boom, boom, boom, boom
Boom, boom, boom
Boom, boom, boom, boom
Boom, boom, boom.

(1) Tristan Tzara, Dadaist manifesto, 1918. Dada was an art movement inspired by the horror of war.
(2) Charles Jencks, ‘The Language of Post-Modern Architecture‘, 1977. This is Jencks’ ironic description of the end of Modernism, recording, as it does, the demolition in 1972 of the Pruitt-Igoe Project apartment blocks in St Louis, Missouri. This was a poverty-stricken, Modernist scheme built in 1951 which in its early days had won architectural awards for its cutting-edge design.
(3) Baldrick’s poem ‘The German Guns‘, recited in the BBC comedy series ‘Blackadder Goes Forth‘, 1989. He recites it before the cast leave their bunker for the last time to go over the top.