Ever since former editor Ian Leslie persuaded The Builder's owners to rename the magazine, Building's content and design have been changing with the times. As the magazine embarks on its latest design evolution, Mark Leftly looks back on the past 40 years
On 4 March 1966, the 123-year-old journal The Builder took the historic step of renaming itself Building, the then editor Ian Leslie having succeeded in persuading the magazine's owners that such a change was needed to reflect a more integrated industry. Priced at a shilling and sixpence, the new-look magazine featured an advertisement for resin glue on its cover and an opening column exclaiming: "Yes! Britain's most alive construction and design newspaper has changed its name." It also rather audaciously claimed to be the "most modern newspaper in Europe".
Modern it may have been, but it was a bit of a struggle to get through - 102 pages of adverts for products like black sheathing felt and food waste disposal units had to be trawled through before you reached the contents page. Still, it was worth it, as there were some big stories that first week - the Sydney Opera House's architect, Jørn Utzon, resigned from the project and the government promised to make a grant of £3.75m towards the cost of Denys Lasdun's National Theatre. The introduction of a "Not for Men" page edited by one Mary Haddock suggested that the spirit of the times had not entirely evaded the consciousness of the stately journal.
By the mid-1970s the magazine's logo had evolved into a computerised font - a look that may have seemed futuristic but still very much belonged to that decade. The news section had expanded, a "Briefing" page outlining the week's main events was included (before the adverts) and the Hansom page was introduced for the first time.
Then in March 1979, multidisciplinary design firm Pentagram was brought in to give the magazine a new look - the result being the first incarnation of the blue, oval Building logo, a version of which has survived to our latest redesign.
The 1980s and 1990s brought with them the advent of page make-up software and more exacting design standards. In the decades before, the front cover was almost exclusively an advertising space, but by the time of the 1998 redesign issue an architectural photograph of the national museum in Edinburgh took pride of place.
As Building embarks on its latest design evolution, the oval logo may remain but much else has changed. A squarer format, a matt cover, and a clearer typeface have given the magazine a bold and contemporary feel. Let's hope they're saying the same in 40 years' time …