Destruction in northern England of brutalist architecture leads to an uproar

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Mismanagement and lack of respect contribute to needless demolitions, says Simon Phipps.

According to a photographer who believes an important part of the architectural heritage of the country could be lost in the process, some of the finest examples of Brutalist architecture in northern England are under threat of demolition. Simon Phipps, the photographer behind Brutal North, a survey of Brutalist architecture in northern England, said a mixture of mismanagement and a general under Concrete jungle: Northern England’s brutal buildings – in picturesContinue readingPhipps said tastes have shifted, budgets for councils are declining, and a disparaging perception of concrete construction has meant that many buildings have not received the funding they need to make required repairs. Before it was agreed that it should be sold to developers, Park Hill [in Sheffield]was put in terrible condition… that’s what’s happening with a lot of these buildings,”Park Hill [in Sheffield]was put into terrible condition before it was then decided that it should be sold to developers … that’s what’s happening with a lot of these buildings,” Some of the Phipps buildings investigated in his book are set for restoration, such as the High Point Building in Bradford, which was once the Yorkshire Building Society’s headquarters. But some others are at danger, including a cluster at the University of Manchester’s former UMIST campus, the Carlisle Civic Centre and both the Dorman Long Tower and Steel House in Teeside. Phipps, who is at risk “He said, “I think that’s a good case for these buildings to be repurposed, redeveloped and built for new uses. “Phipps favors a reuse that doesn’t hide Brutalist elements. “Of course, from my point of view, if everything is repurposed in a sympathetic fashion, it’s much better,” he said. “I’m not suggesting that anything about them has to be retained, but if some of the original design elements and aesthetics were preserved, that would be fine. Sunderland Civic CentreDesigned in the 1970s by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-influenced John Bonnington, City Hall needs an estimated 5 million pounds in repairs and upgrades. Instead, the council agreed to relocate to a new £ 42 million building, perhaps repurposing the Bonnington building as accommodation. Dorman Long Tower and Steel House, Teesside

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