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A MARKET GEM OF A LISTING

It did not come as a surprise to campaign group Huddersfield Gem when it was announced that the West Yorkshire town's 1970s Queensgate Market Hall would be listed.

The organisation, set up to protect the hall, knew it was an under-appreciated jewel long before culture minister David Lammy gave it a Grade II listing last week.

Significantly, the decision could save the building from demolition. Kirklees council has floated a number of options to redevelop the area - some of which would have seen the market hall flattened.

The council will now have to reconsider its plans, a move which will delight English Heritage, which described the hall as 'the best surviving example of a 1960s or '70s retail market' and 'a key exemplar of a building type that is currently under particular threat'.

Designed by the J Seymour Harris Partnership (now Seymour Harris Architects), the building was opened on 6 April 1970 and features a roof structure based on 21 asymmetric paraboloid shells.

According to Huddersfield Gem, the practice was inspired by Mexican Felix Candela for the innovative, lightweight concrete roof sections.

The group also claims the developments in hyperbolic paraboloid structures needed for the 'flying' cantilevered roof make the building 'unique in the UK and possibly the world'.

The market hall boasts one of the largest ceramic sculptures in the world, designed by German émigré sculptor Fritz Steller. The enormous abstract art panels - titled Articulation in Movement - weigh almost 50 tons.

Steller met the project's lead architect Gwyn Roberts while they were both at college in Birmingham.

Roberts was never to see his masterpiece listed. The architect, who left the practice to set up on his own in the early '70s, died last year.

Unsurprisingly, the Twentieth Century Society, which put the building forward for listing, was thrilled by the DCMS's decision. Caseworker Cordula Zeidler said: 'This is one of the most outstanding post-war buildings in the region and it is quite rare to get one [listed]. It is a really good local landmark.' For more information visit www. monoculartimes. co. uk/ huddersfi eldgem

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