The above image is a detail of a wonderful piece of Brutalist Architecture that has probably attracted more column inches and more adverse remarks than any other piece of architecture in Portsmouth – past or present ! Whilst there was a strong faction who admired the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth, (I, for one), many thought it was an eye-sore and it was voted the third ugliest building in Britain and Radio 4 listeners voted it the most hated building in the UK !
It was demolished in 2004 and all my only photos are similar to the above. Where possible, I will try to only use my own images on this blog. If you google the Tricorn Centre, Portsmouth you will see hundreds of images that show the entire building – personally I prefer close-ups, more abstract compositions, of shapes and forms and the way the changing light affected them.
Brutalism has many influential critics and the Tricorn had some equally influential ambasadors, namely the world famous architect Daniel Libeskind, who described it as “this gem of the 1960’s”. Personally, I really like the fortress-like linear forms and the raw concrete surfaces – but then I’m not a critic or an architect !
It’s designers Owen Luder and Rodney Gordon were unjustly vilified for their vision but what is gone is gone – sadly the Tricorn didn’t get a “listed” status, unlike the Trellick Tower in London (designed by Erno Goldfinger). The moral of the story is if you love a building and someone else doesn’t – try to get it listed – the Portsmouth Society did their best to save the Tricorn but the City Council, in their infinite wisdom, tore this masterpiece down! More thoughts on local architecture and 60’s icons later !
photo and text copyright chriswoodartist all rights reserved