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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Pull it down!

The BBC reports that residents of Cumbernauld have voted to demolish their own town. It seems that Cumbernauld town centre was, in its day, an internationally recognised example of best practice in architecture and planning and the world's first multi-level covered town centre. However, it is now viewed by some as a poor example of sixties architecture and a nightmare to live in.

I cannot comment as I have not been there, however the premise behind the Channel 4 series,"Demolition", is intriquing. It seems that the idea is to identify Britain's worst eyesore and then to actually pull it down.

The Western Mail enters into the spirit of things this morning by asking various "personalities" to nominate their personal eyesore. I found it difficult to agree with the choice of AM, Alun Cairns. Swansea County Hall has its detractors but it is actually quite attractive in a quirky sort of way. Plans to open it up as a proper civic centre could well seal its fate as a popular destination for the citizens of Swansea.

I certainly agreed with Sian Lloyd about Neath Civic Centre. This is an appalling example of sixties architecture that should have been demolished years ago. Plaudits are due to Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council for their plans to replace and, hopefully, pull it down in due course. Equally, the DVLA is hardly the Guggenheim and, in its present location, dominates the north of Swansea and the M4. I understand that this building is due to be refurbished soon and that relocation to another part of Swansea may be one alternative option.

Finally, the issue of Toys R Us. Former Neath Mayor and Liberal Democrat Councillor John Warman, is right, as buildings they are unattractive and functional. They also attract a lot of trade. Like McDonalds, Toys R Us seem to have uniform buildings that they will plonk just anywhere, regardless of the context. These examples of nineties architecture have already cast a blight on the urban landscapes of the future. Let us not pull them down just yet but could we please have a compulsory re-education course for those responsible for creating them?
hear hear,

i reside round about the university in swansea and can honestly say that these are some of the worst building i have ever seen, its especially noticable since a majority of them are in a very close proximity the abbey buildings (which are georgious) and the wallace building (which i just think is fantastic). how they were designed in the 60s which is normally synonomous with good design i will never know.

another point though, its about time planners started taking into account the architectural value of a building when deciding on granting planning permission. the digital technium (for which im still trying to find what goes on in the building - and who uses it, as far as i can tell it is no benefit to the university) is a new age monstrocity which never should have been allowed to be constructed.
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