Jonathan Meades praises Brighton's concrete monstrosities

The Brighton Centre

The Brighton Centre

First published in News by

An architecture expert pleaded the case for “concrete monstrosities” to a group of architecture lovers more usually drawn to the appeals of stucco.

BBC presenter and writer Jonathan Meades entertained the members of The Regency Society at the annual Anthony Dale lecture in the music room of the Pavilion on Wednesday night.

The traditional lecture was named in honour of the society's founder member who died in October 2011.

Mr Meades regaled the audience in his inimitable dry manner pressing his passion for the architectural style of brutalism which grew up in the post-war era and which he explained was drawn on the inspiration of World War II defences.

The Brighton Centre, the Brighthelm Church in North Road and the Sir Basil Spence buildings at the University of Sussex are all influenced by the movement pioneered by French architect Le Corbusier.

Mr Meades, who recently presented a two-part show on BBC4 called Concrete Poetry, joked during his intellectually rigorous talk of the irony of discussing the stark brutalist style in the lavishly decorated music room.

Speaking afterwards, he praised the Georgian architecture of the city but said he felt too many of the buildings of that era were revered and remain despite being the work of “spec builders”.

A Regency Society spokeswoman said: “We were delighted that Mr Meades took us up on our offer to speak to us.

“His mix of intellectual rigour and humour, unique perspective and unusual subject matter, certainly fired up some stimulating debate and encouraged the people of Brighton and Hove to look at the likes of the Brighton Centre and Brighthelm with new eyes.”

For more information on the society visit www.regencysociety.org.

Comments (5)

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8:21am Tue 11 Mar 14

rogerthefish says...

I understand that initially Brighton Council wanted to knock the Grand down to make Brighton Centre, anyone know anymore history?
I understand that initially Brighton Council wanted to knock the Grand down to make Brighton Centre, anyone know anymore history? rogerthefish
  • Score: 4

9:00am Tue 11 Mar 14

john newman says...

Dreadful buildings that need to be rebuilt/ modernised are the out of date Churchill Square and the Brighton Centre. The marina is also a relic of a bygone age. So much more could be done if Brighton would look to the future. Plan now or in 2020 and beyond we will miss attracting more businesses.
Dreadful buildings that need to be rebuilt/ modernised are the out of date Churchill Square and the Brighton Centre. The marina is also a relic of a bygone age. So much more could be done if Brighton would look to the future. Plan now or in 2020 and beyond we will miss attracting more businesses. john newman
  • Score: 8

10:08am Tue 11 Mar 14

MuammarQaddafi says...

Who knows, crime might be even worse without a few prison-like buildings scattered around as tacit reminders.
Who knows, crime might be even worse without a few prison-like buildings scattered around as tacit reminders. MuammarQaddafi
  • Score: 0

11:23am Tue 11 Mar 14

gheese77 says...

rogerthefish wrote:
I understand that initially Brighton Council wanted to knock the Grand down to make Brighton Centre, anyone know anymore history?
That does not surprise me. Many towns and cities suffered the effects of 'modernisation' during the 60's and 70's. Just look at Edward St, if you are interested in what Brighton and hove used to look like the James Gray collection is great.

http://www.regencyso
ciety-jamesgray.com/
[quote][p][bold]rogerthefish[/bold] wrote: I understand that initially Brighton Council wanted to knock the Grand down to make Brighton Centre, anyone know anymore history?[/p][/quote]That does not surprise me. Many towns and cities suffered the effects of 'modernisation' during the 60's and 70's. Just look at Edward St, if you are interested in what Brighton and hove used to look like the James Gray collection is great. http://www.regencyso ciety-jamesgray.com/ gheese77
  • Score: 5

11:32am Tue 11 Mar 14

Valerie Paynter says...

The Regency Society is very keen to attract developers and architects as members these days and cares more about them than is healthy for a group founded to prevent Regency architecture from being bulldozed..... IMHO.
The Regency Society is very keen to attract developers and architects as members these days and cares more about them than is healthy for a group founded to prevent Regency architecture from being bulldozed..... IMHO. Valerie Paynter
  • Score: -3

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