PRINCE Charles once said at least the Luftwaffe, when it knocked down our buildings, didn’t replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. He was referring to 1960s architects; the designers of Brutalism, otherwise known as concrete monstrosities.
Thankfully, York was spared a proliferation of these things but a couple sneaked in; Ryedale House and Stonebow House, which most think stick out like sore thumbs in a mediaeval city like ours. The only good thing that can be said of them is that they are not in prominent positions.
Many would like to see the back of them, others believe they are an important part of York’s history, and should stay. But since City of York Council bought the freehold to the land on which Stonebow House sits, the debate has found new momentum.
On Saturday we can all have our say at a meeting in St Saviourgate and today we print two sides of the argument. Architect Matthew Laverack tells us the best course of action is redevelopment, while architectural historian Jon Wright argues against, saying York has a unique opportunity to make it clear that the late 20th century happened here too.
He may well be a lone voice. After all, it’s the Minster and half-timbered buildings that make York such a popular tourist destination. That said, Mr Wright is correct to point out that any decision must be made without the fog of prejudice and that is precisely why Saturday’s meeting will be an important one.