This work is an exploration of architectural heritage. Across the UK, structures of the brutalist era are being demolished or threatened with demolition. Many of these structures have been so maligned that we collectively fail to see them for their formal qualities. Instead, our views become distorted by the layering of prejudice against the recent past on the (frequently neglected) architecture itself. Before long, we may be left with an entire decade missing from the build fabric of our cities.
Perhaps it is impossible to consider architecture without its cultural context and associated meaning. The desire to romanticise the distant past comes easier than recognising the mistakes of modernity. Hence we celebrate the ancient as heritage but are often willing to disown the contemporary and modern. However, we must remember how frequently we neglect significant cultural contributions, only for future generations to discover and adore them. The implications of demolishing our architectural heritage are irreversible. This film is an argument that we should approach this erasure carefully and critically.
The film utilises archival photographs of Norwich’s Anglia Square, mixed with live footage. Anglia Square is itself under imminent threat of demolition. The photographs and footage are manipulated into the most basic elements of architectural convention – using the line to denote space. Drawing from Daniel Libeskind’s Chamberwork series, these moving images question how we define space and, subsequently, architectural merit. Through distortion, perhaps, we are able to see more clearly.