Coventry Precinct Walkway, adjacent to the fountain. The planners realised that the canopies could be dark places, and used a selection of ingenious ways to brighten the walkways for shoppers. If you take the time to look up, there are various places for natural light to stream in, the trouble is a lot of them need cleaning, but they could be a beautiful feature. The walkways are great for keeping out of the rain while having the pleasure of precinct shopping.
TEXT: It was a difficult knowledge to hold, to have the expectation that the end was nearer. With every day, with every beat, his metabolism defined the pathway to the wall. The daily journey was not marred regularly by his lack of compass, most of the time he didn’t think of it at all. But the final moment would come, and every dynamic, every animation was a small catalyst towards the inevitable. Inspecting his body, the streams of luminosity moved across him, over the folds in his clothes. It was in these strange, private moments, when he could sense time developing, internally and also in the world around him. It was a flow, and things were happening.
I love that the old typography still remains in and around the precinct, it needs straightening up but I hope it isn’t removed. So stylish against the wood panelling underneath the walkways and the slate edging. The most expensive modern development aspires towards such minimalism and use of quality natural materials.
1970’s Extension to Coventry Council House and a perfect example of the mix of building styles in Coventry. This place really has some amazing diversity in architecture, it is something to be proud of, a place where innovation and imagination should be welcomed. It is very rare for a place to have such a great breadth of styles, and although it is at times incohesive, it should be something to treasure rather than put down. This is an unusual and amazing City.
The Bullyard in Coventry is a fantastic square, the cladding really echos the modern cathedral in design and materials used, it seems that Coventry can have a plan when it wants to. I also love that there was so much public art placed around Coventry during the mass rebuild, whether you like the pieces or not, it is fantastic that we have such a diverse selection of open air sculpture, statues, murals, reliefs and paintings for people to discover.
Taken from English heritage;
In front of what used to be the three tuns pub is a mural by the artist William Mitchell – An abstract two-facetted relief mural, of 1966 by William Mitchell, forming the front elevation of The Three Tuns Pub situated in the north corner of the Bull Yard shopping complex; The Bull Yard building itself, to which the mural is attached, is not of special interest. The mural is cast in concrete with a pebble aggregate. It is circa 4m high and 11 ½ m long, with three openings for windows. The high relief panel shows abstract motifs, which could be interpreted as industrial components, such as cogwheels and spirals, but equally as a map of a city. Its design and style appear to have been influenced by Central American art. The rear of the mural, situated inside the pub, is also in relief, but is less pronounced (and now painted white). The mural forms a focal point within the public square. (http://list.english-heritage.org.uk/resultsingle_print.aspx?uid=1393443&showMap=1&showText=1)
There are plenty of photos of this mural online.
I find it entertaining that at the same heritage site they describe the Bullyard as ‘architecturally insignificant’, hmpf. Well I like it. I also like the two tone tiles opposite the tuns 🙂
One of the repeated materials throughout the post war development in Coventry is found on parts of the new cathedral. The slate and the oxidised green verdigris of what I think is copper cladding. Again though, as this image shows, even the important architecture of the new cathedral is in need of some loving care.
Coventry cathedral is one of the most loved, both modern and ancient buildings in the world, a strong symbol of peace and also a perfect example of how juxtaposition could work in Coventry. I was surrounded by tourists photographing this place, and yet the City is accused of being ugly. The misconception may be due to the lack of realisation and years of neglect, but certainly not in the structures and buildings themselves.
Recently, Coventry was voted one of the ugliest Cities in England.
I’ve lived in Coventry for the majority of my life, and although it’s beauty isn’t conventional, I’ve grown to love the place. The City has something different, and I’m afraid that these sensationalist statements will invoke a bulldozer reaction, resulting in the loss of some very important and amazing architecture.
Coventry has always inspired me, I’ve been taking photographs of the cityscape for many years now. It’s possibly the years of visual study that have made me realise that the City has a style of it’s own, with extremely interesting themes, materials and forms. However, the years of neglect have created a real resentment, a longing for a lost place.
The Ring Road is crumbling, the precinct paint is peeling and facias are fronted with plywood. So where did the Civic pride go?
I believe that the key here is respecting and saving Coventry’s architectural colours, lines, materials, themes and most of all, celebrating it’s individuality and forward thinking.
This is not an ugly City, it is a neglected gem.
I’ve started this page not only to record buildings I think will soon be lost, but also as Coventry’s development and architecture is something I would like to explore in more detail. In a recent discussion, it was mentioned that Coventry’s Post War style was Post Modern, Brutalist, Festival, Modernist…the list goes on. I don’t think I’ll get one answer, and I don’t even think Post War is correct, but at least I’ll get to share my thoughts. I’m not an architect. I grew up in Coventry, and my interest stems from my love of the City and my camera. My stance isn’t right or wrong, it’s just my opinion, and I know there are plenty of people who think differently.
If you have taken the time to read this, I hope you find this section of my site interesting, and maybe even find something of beauty here…