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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 March, 2004, 10:16 GMT
Architect defends 'ugly building'
By Hannah Bayman
BBC News Online, South

The architect who designed the building voted Britain's ugliest has defended its design - on the day it is being torn down.
Tricorn Centre, Portsmouth
Owen Luder: "It is a very positive building - you can't ignore it"

Owen Luder CBE warned that Portsmouth would regret demolishing the Tricorn Centre, his now-derelict 1960s shopping mall.

He said many people in the city had voiced support for the Tricorn, despite its rating in a BBC Radio 4 poll.

Mr Luder said: "It was a design of the times. The early 1960s saw a very exciting expansion in architecture, we were pushing back the frontiers.

"The whole concept of pedestrianised shopping was totally new.

"I have no doubts about its design. It is a very positive building - you can't ignore it and people either love it or hate it.

Owen Luder
There is a lynch mob who have not given any thought to what the Tricorn was or what it could be
Owen Luder

"You can always mould into the surroundings and totally fit into the context and not get noticed - and many non-descript buildings do just that.

"But if you produce a big new building that is strange, with big shapes and new materials, people react to it and that is no bad thing - I want people to react to architecture."

Another of his 1960s buildings - a multi-storey car park in Gateshead is also facing the bulldozers.

Despite a campaign by fans of the Michael Caine film Get Carter, in which it features, the car park looks doomed to demolition by the local council.

Mr Luder said he had backed plans by two Winchester architects to regenerate the Tricorn and build flats overlooking the city centre on its top floor.

Gateshead 'Get Carter' car park
Gateshead car park featured in cult film Get Carter
He said: "My problem now is that there is a lynch mob - the 'tear it down' lot - who have not given any thought to what the Tricorn was or what it could be.

"As it is all they are going to do is knock it down and have a surface level car park, which is where I started in 1961.

"Portsmouth will regret having demolished the Tricorn in the long term."

When it was first built the Tricorn won design awards, but its shops closed in less than 15 years and it has been unused even for car parking since 2002.

Campaigners from the Portsmouth Society had hoped to make it a listed building, but this was rejected by Heritage Secretary Andrew McIntosh earlier this month.

Portsmouth resident Stuart Hamilton has won a council competition to start the bulldozers to demolish the Tricorn on Wednesday.

It will take 10 months to knock down the concrete structure and a new shopping centre is to be built in its place.



Demolition for 'ugliest' building
24 Mar 04  |  Hampshire/Dorset
High times for Get Carter fans
07 Aug 02  |  England

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