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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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The Bank of England, Newcastle upon Tyne . . .


Originally, the Bank of England in Newcastle was located on Grey Street.





Then, in 1971, needing bigger premises, the Bank re-located to their new purpose-built building on Pilgrim Street . .






The new building on Pilgrim Street, specifically designed for the Bank of England, proved impossible to let for alternative uses, after the Bank closed their small network of UK branches in the 1990s.

From that point on, the future looked bleak for one of modern Newcastle's most impressive and unique buildings.

This thread charts the progress of the Pilgrim Street Bank of England building, during the declining years of its life, as the "EPS Development Plans" gradually take over that part of the City Centre, and the buildings eventual demise and demolition approaches . . .

We can then (hopefully!!) use this Project Thread to cover the construction of the building - said to be an "iconic seven storey . . er . . tower" - that eventually replaces our Bank of England building . . .

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are they planning to just refurbish the bank of england building or demolish and rebuild? I don't mind the building, it's not great, but it would look better if it was actually clean. If they rebuild then this site is well placed for very high density imo, something like 20 storeys vertical to act as counterweight to Swan House's horizontal mass.
 

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It must be odds on for demolition and then rebuilding. A good office scheme there would act as an anchor too in some ways as there would be a guaranteed volume of people occupying that area.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
are they planning to just refurbish the bank of england building or demolish and rebuild? I don't mind the building, it's not great, but it would look better if it was actually clean. If they rebuild then this site is well placed for very high density imo, something like 20 storeys vertical to act as counterweight to Swan House's horizontal mass.
Oddly enough, I actually took this photo of the former Bank of England building today, on my way along to the T Dan Smith exhibition . . .



I think it is looking worse than it ever has done now, after being empty for so long.

I have always liked the building a lot, it makes good use of its corner and sloping site, and is a piece of well built and quite unique architecture of the late 60s/early 70s period. It was actually, though unique, the same design that was used in some of the other Bank of England branches (there were four or five in total) around the UK, though they all looked different depending on the location.

I will be sorry to lose it, if it happens.

Here it is in 1974, shortly after it opened in 1971, with the branch having moved here from Grey Street . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
^^ I wish I could like that building, I really do but its utterly appalling to look at from the outside. I've no idea about the inside though.
That is one of the great attractions about architecture, the hugely diverse opinions that we all have about individual examples.

I cannot remember the inside (though I went in once when it was the B of E) it is the outside of it that I like.

I have noticed in the past that this building has attracted very strong views, both for and against.

We will just have to agree to differ on this one hollow man!
 

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I'd be interested to see what this building would be like if given a really good overhaul. I admit that it's a very brutal building and I don't think I could ever find it beautiful, but there's something about the quality of the design and the materials that I really do respect*.

On balance, I'd keep it, although equally I think that if it did go you could put something quite tall here. If the parking was accessed from the lower level at the back, you could have parking as part of the building without it being at street level and therefore killing its relationship with the street. You would want any tall building here to be rather slender though, otherwise it wouldn't contrast enough with 55 Degrees/Swan House and would be a LOT like the Pearl Insurance building is at the end of Northumberland St - a big, dumpy lump.

* That kind of grudging liking for the building though does remind me of the shopping centre on Gosforth High St. Despite being a bit run down, having slightly low ceilings, being out of scale with the surrounding buildings and being a bit brutal, there's something I really like about it. The quality of the brick seems pretty good, it has a strong ground floor and if you modernised the entrances, changed the roof level and let more natural light in it could be a good building.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Very true. However my view on a lot of our new buildings are that a lot of them are "non-architecture". The exterior of them is little more than wallpaper, only just acceptable enough to get through planning and nothing more.

The BoE building that you have pictured above, whether people see it as ugly or not, at least says something. The designer is trying to make a building that has some form of style, with an idea behind it. As a result, you can love it or hate it - hence I have a lot of respect for the building and would want to keep it.

However we have so many buildings now that are designed to be inoffensive, to not say anything at all. I would for instance suggest that the Eldon Square extension, particularly where it faces onto Clayton St, is a classic example. And if we keep stuffing our city with this rubbish we'll have a cheap, identikit looking city that has absolutely no soul.
That seems a fair assessment. The B of E building (whether you like it or not) can NOT be realistically called run-of-the-mill, or un-imaginative, or boring!!!

Here-ya-go!!! . . . from yesterdays T Dan Smith exhibition :
 

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I'm with Historian. As I've said somewhere on here before, I actually like the building. I think a part of that is because I used to work in the Manchester version of the style, again the old BoE building. It's bold, and is actually extremely good architecture. It's the materials that let it down slightly, and they haven't aged well, and as someone pointed out, the concrete didn't look that great in the 70s. The brown glass doesn't look greatimo, but with clear glazing, all lit up at night, and showing the office in vibrant busy use, it would be much better. I think with a really good clean up, and some replacement of materials, maybe even some new design input, such as another couple of stories, this building could lok really good. It's got such a prime spot, that they either need to really work hard to get it looking superb, and used, or...sniff sniff....get rid and get something newer with prescence there.
 

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I really like the bank of England, it is stylish, sleek and one of the best buildings of the 1960’s period in the city. I would much rather see it revitalised. Doesn’t Brookfield just want to raze buildings to avoid paying empty buildings tax? Demolition (IMO) should be avoided until there is a robust development plan, if not the whole city (west and now east) could end up looking like a bombsite….
 

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I really like the bank of England, it is stylish, sleek and one of the best buildings of the 1960’s period in the city. I would much rather see it revitalised. Doesn’t Brookfield just want to raze buildings to avoid paying empty buildings tax? Demolition (IMO) should be avoided until there is a robust development plan, if not the whole city (west and now east) could end up looking like a bombsite….
agreed. the old buildings need to be protected and demolition should happen only happen in a few key instances and only after there's concrete plans (and funding in place) for any replacements.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I really like the bank of England, it is stylish, sleek and one of the best buildings of the 1960’s period in the city. I would much rather see it revitalised. Doesn’t Brookfield just want to raze buildings to avoid paying empty buildings tax? Demolition (IMO) should be avoided until there is a robust development plan, if not the whole city (west and now east) could end up looking like a bombsite….
The Bank of England building is indeed one of the very best 1960s/1970s era buildings in the UK, never mind just in our city, in my opinion.









 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have a feeling it will be the former Bank of England building that will go.
I hope the City Council realise what they have before it is too late and are not so stupid as to even consider demolishing their best quality 1960s building.

I'm not holding my breath, unfortunately.
 

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Oh, and I agree on the other note too. As I've said before, I love the BofE building. There are indeed old buildings with the EPS area which should be kept, but others, like you say, are just old. I think it would be great, if the old quality buildings on Pilgrim Street were renovated, the BofE building spruced up and reinvigorated (perhaps with more street level interaction, and the removal of the dark/ brown glazing), and behind, in the area currently occupied by a car park, and the old bus station, taller contemporary buildings rising up.
 

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I quite like it tbh - but the problem is that no one wants it, and I imagine it would be quite hard to convert it to another use easily. This end of town is no longer the destination of choice for office accommodation.
 

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I quite like it tbh - but the problem is that no one wants it, and I imagine it would be quite hard to convert it to another use easily. This end of town is no longer the destination of choice for office accommodation.
I can see the site being an office and there being demand for it, just not in the current BofE configuration. I don't think the BofE building maximises the space that it takes up, it could easily be several storeys taller given the height of 55 Degrees next to it. Something like the new Welbar House (not identical obviously) would look good.

I can't see anyone converting it as the cost to bring the interior up to modern standard would surely be as much as razing it and building a replacement and it would still look fugly from the outside.

For all the people saying it's the best of 60's architecture, it may well be but it's still a complete eyesore.

I'd also like to see the Odeon and Commercial Union House go too.

I don't think Worswick Chambers is that great personally although it does have some interesting features I wouldn't mind if it was demolished.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I can see the site being an office and there being demand for it, just not in the current BofE configuration. I don't think the BofE building maximises the space that it takes up, it could easily be several storeys taller given the height of 55 Degrees next to it. Something like the new Welbar House (not identical obviously) would look good.

I can't see anyone converting it as the cost to bring the interior up to modern standard would surely be as much as razing it and building a replacement and it would still look fugly from the outside.

For all the people saying it's the best of 60's architecture, it may well be but it's still a complete eyesore.

I'd also like to see the Odeon and Commercial Union House go too.

I don't think Worswick Chambers is that great personally although it does have some interesting features I wouldn't mind if it was demolished.
WHAT a divergence of opinions in the last few posts of this thread, including the one quoted.

Some have been 'very strongly' stated indeed!

Remember, it is all about opinions, but architecture does seem to stir up strong feelings/opinions, at times . . and they are often expressed as if they are FACTS!
 

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Ha ha, you're right NH. I hope my post didn't come across as if I believed what I said was a fact, it's just an opinion. I'm very happy to be disagreed with. The aesthetic qualities of architecture are subjective afterall so one man's eyesore is another man's gem.
 
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