Saturday, 31 July 2010

Birmingham named UK's ugliest city

40% of Birmingham residents voted for their own city! At least they were being honest - there's a lot of ugly buildings in Birmingham, but the Bull Ring is quite good.....

Manchester's Arndale centre came 4th - despite its 'makeover' following the IRA bomb in the mid-1990s.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

London Barbican, "one of the wonders of the modern world" according to the Queen

 The Barbican Centre, topped a poll for London's most ugliest building according to a report on the BBC website:

When Her Majesty opened the building in 1982 she declared it one of the wonders of the modern world - indeed. Perhaps this explains why Prince Charles is so against Modern architecture, it's just an age old case of rebelling against one's parents.

The top ten list was as follows:

1. Barbican Centre
2. BT Communications Tower
3. Millennium Dome
4. Centre Point Tower
5. Elephant and Castle Shopping
6. Euston Station
7. Royal Free Hospital
8. M16 Building
9. St. Georges Wharf
10. Postal Sorting Office, Rathbone Place, W1

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

IMAX in Bournemouth demolished because it is too ugly

Is this really the best way to determine the outcome of our built environment?
On one hand it is democratic; if you consider a TV audience pressing their red buttons to be democratic. There may be worse contenders in smaller towns who could only muster a few votes. It doesn't make their case any less significant. The demolition of any building is not to be taken lightly. What is considered a good idea by one generation is seen as legalised vandalism by the next. A good example of this would be the Euston arch. A lesser known example is one stretch of Abercromby Square, Liverpool demolished to make way for a bland pile making reference to the Georgian architecture it replaced....
Betjeman described Abercromby square as being like a small town within a larger one. If that is the case a quarter of it was demolished by the University of Liverpool to make way for what was called, Senate House (now the Abercromby wing of the Sydney Jones Library).
Of course, the Imax in Bournemouth was unlikely to become a significant work of architecture but we must surely not resort to mob rule in these matters.

Ghastly Good Taste

"Nature is kind. She causes her creature to adapt themselves to their surroundings; to certain fish in the deepest parts of the ocean she gives enormous eyes which are able to pierce the darkness of the watery deep. To the town dweller to-day she has given a kind of eye which makes him blind to the blatant ugliness by which he is surrounded. She has affected his critical reasoning powers and his eyesight....the average man is part to blame, the architect more so.... "
Betjeman, John (1933, 1970) "Ghastly Good Taste or a depressing story  of the rise and fall of English Architecture",  London, Anthony Blond.