Portsmouth’s Tricorn Centre is honoured in new exhibition

The Tricorn, Market Way, Portsmouth, in September 2003
The Tricorn, Market Way, Portsmouth, in September 2003
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ONCE Voted as Britain’s ugliest building, the now-demolished Tricorn Centre has been honoured in a new illustrated series.

‘Demolishing Modernism’ is an exhibition featuring iconic examples of modernist architecture in the UK which has been destroyed or is at risk of alteration of demolition.

Newly-honoured in an online tribute      Image: Gocompare

Newly-honoured in an online tribute Image: Gocompare

A group has created an illustrated tribute to ‘lost concrete classics’ of the UK in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of these buildings’ heritage.

The Tricorn Centre was destroyed 14 years ago but it only recently received an international profile.

In 2009, The Rubble Club, an architectural campaign, named the shopping centre Britain’s Best Demolished Building.

Fast forward to 2014 and a window from the building was displayed at the Venice Biennale of Architecture (VBA).

Organisers of the online exhibition have said that the planning system is failing to protect some of the nation’s best post-war buildings.

Dr Celia Clark, an expert on the transition of former defence sites to civilian uses, said:

‘The Tricorn is included in a list of very special buildings that were destroyed just before brutalism came back into fashion.

‘Now, it is being celebrated. Instead of being destroyed, the building could’ve been used for something else – a mix of residential and commercial property perhaps.’

Dr Clark called the destruction of the building a ‘failure of imagination’ and ‘prejudice against brutalist buildings’.

She added: ‘Now people realise that these are wonderful buildings.

‘These giant sculptures have such potential for reuse.

‘Throwing away thousands of tonnes of concrete is so wasteful.

‘A taxi driver once told me that some of the rubble from the Tricorn was used under terminal 5 at Heathrow. I’m not sure there’s any truth to it.’

Dr Clark and the Hampshire Garden Trust tried to beautify the edges of the site.

She said: ‘I personally think that we need housing blocks there. More people are moving back into city centres.

‘Leaving the site empty for such a long period of time is a serious failure of the city council.

‘Whatever the site is reused for it needs to be of a good standard, good space and well designed.’

To see the illustrations of The Tricorn Centre, visit gocompare.com/home-insurance/demolishing-modernism/