Stuck in the dark ages about architecture?

It is always good when architecture gets some media profile, but the tone on Radio 4 this morning was lamentable.

It is always good when architecture gets some media profile, but the tone on Radio 4 this morning was lamentable. They covered the story about English Heritage listing a number of post World War II office buildings (you can see a nice slideshow of the buildings here ). But the tone of the story was ‘EH lists more concrete monstrosities’, as if the only way they could justify the story was to say ‘yes we acknowledge they are important but of course we all hate them’.

But not everybody hates them, so why make this blanket assumption? These buildings are successes. After all one of the criteria for listing is that they should not have been altered substantially, and that implies a degree of success. And many of them are landmarks. English Heriatge has gone through a rigorous process to decide on the significance of the buildings. It may not have got it right every time, but the point about heritage is that it can survive the oscillations of real taste. Why does the BBC feel that we need to snigger at buildings that are not Georgian or Victorian and that don’t have thatched roofs or roses round the door? The public has an increasing appreciation of contemporary architecture. It’s time for the BBC to catch up.

And before you find yourself condemning all these buildings as hideous, read Hugh Pearman’s piece for the RIBA Journal, in which he argues wittily that the mark of a philistine is the use of the word ‘eyesore’.

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