Today I stumbled on a fantastic website showing the architectural work of Bill Berrett, http://billberrett.info/coventry/ it’s great to see some of the original drawings and concepts for Coventry. This led me off on another ramble looking for more information on Donald Gibson and Arthur Ling…there really doesn’t seem to be a great deal regarding planning of this era…
City Arcade Coventry. Again, look at how the flashing has been left to become dirty, the great original signs in poor condition, the windows rotting, the brickwork in need of a bit of care, wires showing. I honestly think that the authorities have left the architecture to the elements so that it’s easier to get consent to knock it down. As much as I like these details from a personal point of view, I wish there was more civic pride. The council should spend a bit of time to look after the current buildings.
Another unloved Coventry building, the Britannia Hotel. Personally I’m not too keen on the actual overall design of the structure, but I love little elements, such as the wide range of textures and materials used. Yet again, those old Coventry favourites – concrete, granite, slate, and what i think is nordic blue copper cladding. These elements are mirrored throughout the city, alongside the pink sandstone and wood.
It’s a shame the current city planners don’t realise that you can create a feeling of consistency through using similar materials. The majority of the time, they seem hell bent on creating something completely random which doesn’t fit in, and then afterwards wondering why it doesn’t work. If you can use little elements to mirror what is already in place, even if the style is different, you can give the impression of cohesion.
The Coventry Elephant is now an endangered species, after years of neglect it seems very soon it will be extinct. Such a shame, another iconic piece of Coventry architecture is left to become dilapidated, giving the authorities an easy excuse to get rid.
This is the best angle to see the elephant shape of the architecture, but close up shots reveal the unusual angles and design created by City architect Harry Noble in the 1970′s. I believe the loss of these exciting buildings will be mourned in the future, we are rapidly losing post-war architecture across the UK, and instead of Coventry being proud of it’s heritage it is ripping it apart.