Category Archives: Cheltenham

Incompetence, malignity and destructiveness of modern British architects

Ruined: Imperial Square, Cheltenham

The authorities in charge of buildings preservation, writes Dalrymple,

often bully owners of listed houses in matters of tiny detail, at great cost to those owners, while simultaneously allowing for the desecration of whole townscapes.

Anyone who doubts this, he points out, should

take a look (just as one example among many) at Imperial Square in Cheltenham, where a criminally hideous tower office block has been permitted to ruin the outlook of a graceful Regency terrace.

Goldfinger Ernő: satanically bad and destructive work

He says that

the preservation order on the satanically bad and destructive work of Goldfinger Ernő, or on the preternaturally vile signal box at Birmingham New Street Station, are attempts to persuade us that there is something more to these buildings than scours the eye.

Preternaturally vile: signal box, Birmingham New Street Station

 

The kind of exhibition Dalrymple likes

'Uneven in quality, small in size, and attended by no more than three people at a time'

‘Uneven in quality, small in size, and attended by no more than three people at a time’

Postcards from Cheltenham

'Civilisations are not destroyed from without; they collapse from within. That collapse may be in slow motion, it may take decades, but it is collapse nonetheless. Cheltenham is as good a place as any to witness, if you really want to do so, barbarians inhabiting graceful ruins'

‘Civilisations are not destroyed from without; they collapse from within. That collapse may be in slow motion, it may take decades, but it is collapse nonetheless. Cheltenham is as good a place as any to witness, if you really want to do so, barbarians inhabiting graceful ruins.’

'Devoid of talent, ideas, or taste, but too arrogant to learn from past ages or to accommodate what he built to what was already there, the architect had only prepotency as the means by which to distinguish himself, as the bully has fear, and of that he made the maximum use. It was enough: once this single building had been erected, nothing mattered any more, for nothing anyone could do as an individual would be more destructive or aesthetically offensive'

‘Devoid of talent, ideas, or taste, but too arrogant to learn from past ages or to accommodate what he built to what was already there, the architect had only prepotency as the means by which to distinguish himself, as the bully has fear, and of that he made the maximum use. It was enough: once this single building had been erected, nothing mattered any more, for nothing anyone could do as an individual would be more destructive or aesthetically offensive.’

'An insurance company, no doubt having successfully bribed the local council for permission to do so, erected a gray concrete tower designed by an architect who, if there had been any justice in the world, would have had his eyes put out so that he never built anything as ugly again'

‘An insurance company, no doubt having successfully bribed the local council for permission to do so, erected a grey concrete tower designed by an architect who, if there had been any justice in the world, would have had his eyes put out so that he never built anything as ugly again.’

'There is no better vantage point to see the destruction of a civilisation by barbarian architects than Imperial Square in Cheltenham. This was, until the 1960s or early 1970s, a most elegant urban space, completely harmonious, a call to refinement'

‘There is no better vantage point to see the destruction of a civilisation by barbarian architects than Imperial Square in Cheltenham. This was, until the 1960s or early 1970s, a most elegant urban space, completely harmonious, a call to refinement.’

‘Why are the British now barbarians living in the ruins of a former civilization of which they are either wilfully ignorant or which they actively detest? Perhaps it is, at least in part, an effect of the architecture that for the last sixty years has been imposed upon them'

‘Why are the British now barbarians living in the ruins of a former civilisation of which they are either wilfully ignorant or which they actively detest? Perhaps it is, at least in part, an effect of the architecture that for the last sixty years has been imposed upon them.’

Eagle Tower (offices of Eagle Star insurance company), Cheltenham. 1968, Stone Thomas & Partners

Eagle Tower (offices of Eagle Star insurance company). 1968, Stone Thomas & Partners.