Councils & property developers are failing their cities
Though some of the examples in this great article over at The Cool Hunter are pretty questionable (they will look dogshit in 10 years), I wholeheartedly agree with the premise. Leeds, the city that I’ve always lived near and recently moved to, is full of stunning buildings, new and old. But the city was known for a time for being the birthplace of a style that I won’t even go as far as calling architecture.
Does the building enhance the surrounding area or make it worse? Will the building still look great 10, 15 or 20 years from now?
With the growth of the financial sector in the 1980’s, new buildings sprang up around Leeds to house them. An interim style hailing the city’s Victorian heritage was adopted, complete with orange-red brickwork, steeply sloped roofs of slate, the style spread through the country and is almost universally hated. Still applied to modern apartment blocks, cheap-looking new-build banks and everything inbetween, the style is barely any better than the concrete blocks that dominated in the 60’s and 70’s.
Yet for some reason, property developers and council councils still allow these characterless, ugly buildings - and countless other of equally soulless styles - to be built.
We see property developers rushing to get their building up, wanting to make a quick sale and profit, and not really caring or thinking about the aesthetics of the building.
While I don’t think our streets should be littered with gimmicky clusters of mis-shapes, I’d love to see some originality, some care put into new buildings. Something that will highlight the beautiful British buildings we already have, something that will bring people and services to flocking to buy, improving areas all over. And something that won’t look terrible in 10 years - after all, we’re the ones who have to look at and work in them.