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BLOG BEING UPDATED - TRY AGAIN LATER This blog records the controversial era of British architecture, 1960's Brutalism. Many Brutalist buildings have been demolished and many still are under threat

History of destruction

Some of the great works of Brutalism have already been demolished before there was a chance for a rediscovery of the style, depriving future generations of the architectural legacy of a decade. Some of the biggest demolition scandals are listed below 

1. Portsmouth Tricorn centre: Demolished 2004

Related blog post on 'Mr Tommy Walker'

2. Gateshead Trinity centre: Demolished 2010

Many buildings are still threatened, most notable and important examples of Brutalism are perhaps Preston Bus station (Although now listed by English heritage it is still being proposed for demolition by the arrogant and culturally ignorant Preston city council) and Birmingham central library whose demise is shortly expected with the completion last year of the new city library. It is only a matter of time until the latter is lost as there is no room for such a 'dysfunctional' building in a modern city centre but for the former, Preston bus station there is a chance of salvation with the unusual intervention by English heritage (who usually let Brutalist works not highly sort after by the gentrifying classes [e.g Terrick tower] be demolished in the name of process [such as the Trinity and Tricorn centres] and the sympathy of the minister in the department of culture, media and sport. However we should not be complacent, until the building is fully renovated or put to a new use the forces of neglect could endanger its future. If it could saved and successfully restored it could well lead to a St Pancras moment (in the 1960's when English heritage listed at grade one the 'Victorian eyesore' which previously looked set for demolition and the event which caused a major reflection on Victorian architecture) but for brutalism. A shift in attitudes, not necessary to a love of brutalism, but at least an acceptance of its right to survive as an era of architecture may help in campaigns across the country to save the long neglected brutalist architecture of which Britain contains many of the best examples. 

Last updated: May 2014


  1. I went to Portsmouth uni and didn't even know the Tricorn Centre existed until I started working in one of the shops situated at the side of what is now just a car park. It was MK One, but although the chain was rapidly losing money anyway because of poor management, my then manager said our particular store was affected massively, because we ended up as a lonely building round the back of what is the main high street - now the only retail area left. A new chain took over all the southern MK One's, apart from ours because of the location, as business was so poor! This video from 2004 on demolition day can be used as an 'I told you so' by brutalism fans. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk850_-SrsQ At around the 1.50 mark, the reporter starts a short interview with a woman from the council who talks of a new development, a 'phoenix rising from the dust' in 2007/2008. From the 7.30 mark, the reporter interviews another councillor and he envisages a 'traditional street scene...'. There is still nothing there but a car park, redevelopment was massively delayed and I don't know if they'll do anything anymore. What a waste of a beautiful building. If it had been looked after, Portsmouth would still have an amazing piece of architectural heritage. I hope they regret it.


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