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Landmark 1950s education buildings facing demolition

A group of landmark educational buildings from the 1950s are under threat of demolition. The former St Albans College of Further Education, produced by the Hertfordshire County Architects Department during its heyday, could be torn down to make way for a residential scheme.

Developer Fairview has applied for planning permission to clear the site and erect 309 one- and two-bedroom flats and eight houses.

But a group of concerned architects has launched a campaign and is lobbying St Albans council and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to step in and save the buildings, which were awarded a Bronze Medal by the RIBA shortly after their completion.

Campaigner Philip Nellis claimed the 'pivotal' scheme was a fine example of the work of the Herts County Architects Department and of project architect John Wakely, 'who did a marvellous job'.

The group of pavilion blocks, set within a mature wooded landscape, were built using a durable light steel structure with a window walling system infilled with plastic-faced composite panels and areas of brick and timber cladding.

Sir Nikolaus Pevsner described them in 1977 as: 'Excellently grouped buildings of different heights, with skilful use of varying levels, surfaces and textures, proving that a system building does not have to be dull.'

St Albans planning authority is considering its recommendation.

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