These are dire times for Brutalism in Birmingham but the battle for the city’s soul isn’t over yet. Paradise Circus has already suggested six tactics we might employ in the effort to preserve our concrete heritage and now I’d like to suggest a few more:
How to keep Birmingham’s Brutalist Architecture. No 7: Add Slides
How to keep Birmingham’s Brutalist Architecture. No 8: Move it to Cannon Hill Park
Since 1911 Cannon Hill Park has been home to The Golden Lion Inn, a Sixteenth Century timber frame pub originally sited on Deritend High Street. This Grade II listed building was dismantled and removed from its original location because it was getting in the way of progress.
It was donated to Cannon Hill Park and rebuilt there brick-by-brick where it can now rot in peace. I went to Cannon Hill Park the other day and there’s loads of open space just sitting there doing nothing. Why not turn the park into a retirement home for all of Birmingham’s inconvenient buildings? The Central Library has already been dismantled and it shouldn’t be too difficult to put it back together again in this nice new setting where it too can rot in peace.
How to keep Birmingham’s Brutalist Architecture. No 9: Urban Splash
Again they’d need to reassemble the building from the rubble before they turn it into a luxury hotel or whatever but I’m sure they’re up to it. In fact by the time they’re through there’ll be so little actual concrete visible that they may as well not bother salvaging the original material and just start from scratch instead. Much less hassle and no one would be able to tell the difference.
How to keep Birmingham’s Brutalist Architecture. No 10: All of the above
How to keep Birmingham’s Brutalist Architecture. No 11: GIVE ME YOUR MONEY!!!
Aha! This “article” has all just been an elaborate ruse to trick you into donating to my Indiegogo campaign! I’m trying to make a feature-length film investigating the demise of the Central Library and you have made it happen. Paradise Lost: History in the Un-Making will be a psychogeographic video-essay exploring the nooks and crannies of Paradise Circus (the place, not this website) in an attempt to work out what went wrong with yesterday’s future. If we can’t keep Birmingham’s Brutalism on our streets then at least we can preserve it on celluloid (or whatever it is films come on these days). This will be a film made to last 100 years but if it only reaches 40 then I’ll still be pretty chuffed.
Howard’s note: we were thinking of billing Andy as ‘Brum’s Adam Curtis’ but realised that Curtis has become ‘over’ in the sensible establishment (internet commenting group-think branch). That said this will be ace and we’ll be putting our money where our comment section is, and if it isn’t ace then it will at the very least be bloody interesting.