Thursday, 17 January 2008

Regeneration of Oxford City Centre




First you take your tree... Ok, so Bonn Square wasn't perfect, but not sure I find the 'award-winning' architects' design much more soulful (final image) and worthy of a place at the heart of a mediaeval city. And did they really have to bulldoze one of the city centres' only remaining trees? Surely good architecture is about designing around features worth keeping and in sympathy with its surroundings. Alas the surroundings in this part of the city include Westgate Centre - a 1970s white elephant shopping cathedral they are proposing to replace with an even larger white elephant cathedral dedicated to St Shopping so we can compete with shopping capital Reading. And obviously Oxford is world renowned for its shopping...

6 comments:

The Sagittarian said...

Is that where they filmed Inspector Morse??
I love the history of the UK, we are such a young country here that we don't have the architectural history that I find so fascinating when I visit other "older" countries.

Steve said...

Ah St Shopping! Wasn't he the guy that robbed the farmers blind and sold the goods on at hugely inflated prices?

The buildings look like Lego. But not in a good way. And I like Lego!

Reluctant Blogger said...

Not good re the tree - shouldn't you have been there, chaining yourself to it, to save it? Presumably they just ignored a Tree Preservation Order and felled it or claimed it was diseased and unsafe?

I hate shopping! They are always building new shopping centres here and I have no idea how they keep going, but they do seem to. Shopping seems to have become the No.1 National Pastime for a Sunday. I'd rather clean toilets than go shopping!

Rol Hirst said...

Still, it could be worse.

It could be Bradford.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

It is indeed where they filmed Inspector Morse and are now filming Lewis, Sagittarian. But sadly our country doesn't look after its architecture as well as it should. Probably NZ treats its better!

Steve I shall arrange for the new building to be moved to Leam forthwith!

RB, I would've chained myself to the tree, only I did not really know about it until I came upon the protest - on the way to doing something else. So I thought the second best thing I could do was just expose what was going on.

I've never been to Bradford Rol, but looking at your piccies of Bradford's own 'regeneration' on your blog, it would appear they don't realise WWII is over!

Dan said...

Inspector Morse never featured the hideous Westgate Centre car park, or the bleak stretch around Speedwell Street...

They ripped out St. Ebbes to create that auto-centric area, which is something of a moebius strip for drivers, and I am not sad to hear it is to be removed. Still, Bonn Square seems perfectly okay to me as it is.

I agree with you Laura, that Oxford really doesn't need to be a mall complex. Still, look at the Bullring conversion and at least have hope that they might be able to transform this wasteland into a pleasant area.

Birmingham really did a stunning job in somehow reconnecting the disparate and hostile points of the city centre. Let's hope that Oxford could manage the same, suitably away from the glorious heritage buildings, at least!