Joseph Emberton (1889–1956) was a significant architect in Britain during the first half of the 20th century. He designed the striking Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at Burnham-on-Crouch (1931) which represented Britain at the Modern Architecture: International Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1932. Five years later, two more buildings, the celebrated Simpsons of Piccadilly department store (now Waterstone’s flagship bookstore) for which László Moholy-Nagy designed displays, and the Southsea branch of Timothy Whites were selected by MoMA for the exhibition Modern Architecture in England. Drawing on the Joseph Emberton Archive and including loans from the RIBA Library, this exhibition considers the qualities of these buildings that made the most influential commentators on modern architecture take note.
The exhibition coincides with the major retrospective of the work of Leon Underwood, who was a lifelong friend and fellow-student of Emberton at the Royal College of Art.
The exhibiton is a collaboration with the University of Brighton Design Archives. An essay ‘Joseph Emberton: The Architecture of Display’ by Catherine Moriarty appears in the Pallant House Magazine, no. 34, 2015.