Lancaster’s ‘Soviet Architecture’
Conservation zone supposed to protect Victorian original
The ghost of the Victorian original can still be seen, in outline, against the new build. By retaining the Victorian facade, developers gained permission to build a huge new block in a conservation zone.
The Victorian original was exactly the sort of building that conservation areas are designed to protect. But Lancaster City Council’s planning committee granted permission for the development in 2010, despite a powerfully-worded warning from the Society.
The new development towers over its neighbours, which include two listed Paley & Austin hotels.
At least one local councillor agrees with the Society's condemnation of the plans. Councillor Keith Sowden likens the result to the Victorian original having a 'disgusting concrete block dumped on it'. According to another critic the new block comes from 'the Big Book of Soviet Architecture - but without the imagination'.
For critics there is one reliable sign of poor design: the window near the centre. The new window brutally cuts into the original Victorian frontage in a way the Society's letter of protest called 'incoherent'. Some people have also spotted a difference on this point between the architect's publicity photo and the reality:
As publicised by the firm in the Architects Journal
The reality - the window gouges much further into the Victorian original. Photo by virtual-lancaster.net
Tuesday 9 October, 2012
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