Le Palais de Justice – Paris
Architect: Daniel Badani
On my trip into the Parisian suburbs to see the Choux de Creteil I stumbled on this wonderful courthouse. The 16 storey tower symbolises the scales of justice and is designed to resemble an open book. Concrete seems an especially appropriate building for court buildings, as demonstrated by this imposing edifice. Stay out of trouble kids.
Manpower Services Commission Building – Sheffield
Architect: Property Services Agency
Persistence Works – Sheffield
Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley
Finished in 2001, these art studios are something of a throwback. A lot of the construction in Sheffield recently has had a plasticky feel, often in garish contrasting colours. This building however, has a self-assured simplicity. A long first floor box cantilevers over the ground floor, while towers loom behind. The finish is classic grey concrete, minimally decorated with some metal studding on the towers and a simple artwork consisting of blue lights and protruding ‘hairs’ on one end of the main box.
University of York Central Hall – York
Architect: Andrew Derbyshire
JB Morrell Library – York
Stonebow House – York
Architect: Wells, Hickman & Partners
A tidy little mixed development in the centre of York, Stonebow house consists of a long row of shops and cafes with an almost cuboid office block rising above. The shop fronts are set back and raised above street level allowing you to window shop or take an alfresco coffee at the Jorvik Cafe while removed from the bustle of the streets and protected from the unpredictable northern weather. Indeed, I was forced to take shelter myself as it began to hail while I was waiting for an annoying van to move.
60s concrete buildings aren’t generally well loved, but this one especially seems to wind people up, most likely because of its proximity to the historic York Shambles. But as I sat there sipping my coffee on a concrete veranda, it was clear to me that the architecture of Stonebow house is as representative of a period of history as The Shambles themselves are. For this reason it should be preserved and in time it may also become a cherished symbol of a bygone era.
Wyndham Court – Southampton
Architects: Lyons Israel Ellis
A complex of flats with several shops on the ground floor, Wyndham Court has several distinctive features which mark it out as a brutalist classic. Each of the upper floors has a different style of balcony, breaking up the exterior with interesting variety. The building’s low rise profile is punctuated by lift towers, which provide a vertical contrast to the horizontal lines of the balconies. Much of the structure is raised on pilotis, most notably at the chamfered corners, lightening the mass of concrete and giving it a wonderful retrofuturistic look. The wood grain from the shuttering is clearly imprinted on the surface of the light grey concrete, which contributes to an overall nautical feel.
Wyndham Court was grade II listed in 1998, the listing can be viewed here.