Further proof, as if it’s needed, that this city is run by an unholy alliance of charlatans, philistines, bureaucratic retards and the plain demented. Last week the bastards demolished Radiant House, by far the best modernist building in the city centre, if not the whole city.
The building (above) that is no longer there was actually a façade put up in 1935 on an older building. It was designed by Whinney, Son & Austen Hall and for many years it served as the city’s gas showroom. When British Gas left the building it was taken over by the city council and renamed Colston House after their beloved slave trading freemason hero. They also thought, presumably, that effortless suburban touches like putting up some hanging baskets and not bothering to maintain or clean the landmark building would bring out the best of those cool, elegant modern lines.
There’s no doubt the building has some architectural significance. It appears in both the Pevsner guide to Bristol and Tony Aldous’s book ‘C20/21 Bristol’s Modern Buildings’. The dated modernity and faded optimism it now represents should be good enough to grace any city, especially Bristol which is not exactly overrun with attractive buildings. You need only look next door to the council’s Amelia Court, which looks like it was designed by a gay cake decorator after a particularly raucous night with the crystal meth to see that.
Alas the city council’s Culture and Leisure Department think differently. The kind of people who disguise their rancidly impoverished intellects and bureaucratic mindsets behind the term ‘culture’ decided the building had to go as part of The Colston Hall redevelopment. Rather than keeping the building’s facade and developing the concert hall’s foyer around it, which was entirely possible, the council’s culture pseuds have decided to replace it with a bright yellow corrugated iron-looking warehouse.
The ludicrous new building is yet more of this overpriced, off-the-shelf, sub-Norman Foster erotic gherkin bollocks that Sunday supplements for the chattering classes are full of and that serve to keep the UK’s lucrative concrete industry ticking along nicely. You can almost see the architect twat responsible in his strange trousers, horn-rimmed specs and sketch pad going in to meet the city’s cultural bureaucrats. Using all the insight they gained from their second class arts degrees from third class institutions they no doubt lapped up the architectural “vision” on offer…
It’s a fucking ugly, concrete yellow shed you daft sods!!!
Indeed it’s the sort of ugly yellow shed you might expect to see in an out-of-town shopping development agreed by a planning committee containing Richard Eddy and Helen Holland. But in the middle of town? For your major concert venue? Replacing an already critically acclaimed building? I don’t think so.
It really makes you wonder how these decisions are reahed. Ok, so the corduroy jackets in the lower reaches of the culture department get a stupid plan together. As usual… This plan goes to senior officers who see no problem. It goes to planning officers and experts who see no problem. They send it to members and executive members who see no problem. It goes to a planning committee who see no problem. At no point in this process did anyone state the blindingly obvious: “This new building is a load of shit. It’s an ugly yellow concrete shed. Fuck off and come back with a good idea involving the excellent facade we already have.”
At least we now know how we got the centre everybody hates. The whole of the council and everybody in it is completely fucking stupid. Why have them? You might as well ditch the lot of them, save loads of cash and get Sid and Doris Bonkers from Sea Mills to decide everything. They couldn’t do any worse could they?
The driving force behind this latest city centre planning fiasco is the city council’s Head of Culture, Paul Barnett. The man who managed to screw up the Abolition 200 celebrations and get every black group in the city to boycott the event; the man who tried to demolish the industrial museum and build a greenhouse filled with computer games and the man who’s sat on his hands and let the Ashton Court Festival collapse.
There’s a jeroboam of Champagne from The Blogger to the executive member who finally does the city a big favour and sacks this destructive little cunt.