Fair Welbeck Street

27Feb19

Welbeck Street Car Park

A weekend in London, and a (possibly/probably) last chance to take in one of my favourite buildings in the whole of the UK,  the Welbeck Street Car Park

Thanks to the shortsightedness of the people at Historic England (or English Heritage as was), who in 2015 considered it lacking in sufficient architectural interest and as a result chose not to recommend it for listing, it’s soon to be demolished and replaced by a ten-storey hotel.

Pleasingly others seem as disappointed about the news as me, as when I visited a makeshift gallery had been installed on the hoarding encasing the ground floor of the original building.

It’s not much, but it’s good to see that it’s passing is at the very least being noted.

Welbeck Street Car Park Gallery (2019)

This used to be the entrance of the Welbeck Street Car Park, which was designed by Michael Blampied and Partners for Debenhams in 1971.

It sits like a sculpture, a silent spectator with its stretched diamond-shaped concrete panels locked together into a mesmerising pattern through which fifty years of light have passed. Now up for demolition, the gentle concrete structure has become an ending from a time in which car parks were treated as civic monuments, significant structures that expressed the incredible optimism to use architecture to transform society.

ps. It’s Concrete Week over in The Guardian where Welbeck Street makes an appearance in the under threat section, sadly all too true.



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