Sunday, 27 September 2020


Concrete that provided the means to a sculptural ends


It was sometime ago when the crushers, cranes and bulldozers moved in to demolish Trinity Square Gateshead. I discovered this tragedy through my studies into architecture known as Brutalism (think Barbican, Royal Festival Hall).


This period of architecture, roughly 1954 – 1970, was when Britain wanted buildings fast and cheap. Well, it was concrete that provided the means to a sculptural end. With rabid Thatcher-tastes and admittedly, some tower block collapses, Brutalism is well behind us. 


The term ‘brutalism’ comes from the Fr. bêton brut translated meaning concrete raw. It is not a judgmental term merely descriptive.


Trinity Square was multi-storey car park and shopping complex originally opened in 1967 by Rodney Gordon. The car park starred in the 1971 film Get Carter, Michael Cain had the lead male role.


Bish, bash, bosh, down came Trinity Square in 2010. And in 2013 a new Trinity Square home to one of the largest Tesco Extra stores in the country AND a nine screen fully digital Vue cinema.


Are our councils and town planners prone to a Primark condition? ‘Lets just replace perfectly good buildings because we can afford to and we don’t like the style of what we got now.  Other examples of this ailment include most of Bracknell and in Birmingham, the destruction of Birmingham City Library replaced recently by something akin to a set of assorted paper doilies.

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Thank you very much for your comments - Tim