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Foster and Manser buildings join post-war listed elite

Buildings by Norman Foster and Michael Manser are among four post-war structures to be listed by architecture minster Ed Vaizey today

Foster’s Spectrum Building in Swindon and Manser’s cutting edge Capel Manor house in Horsmonden, Kent join a cold war bunker in Gravesend and a concrete sub-station in Sheffield in making the grade.

The Spectrum building was built in 1980 for Renault (it was originally called the Renault Distribution Centre).  The futuristic-looking building, which featured in the 1984 Bond film A View to A Kill has yellow steel ‘umbrella masts’ and a yellow roof topping a single-storey glass-walled warehouse.

Like the Foster building, Manser’s Capel Manor House, one of the first domestic houses to use exposed steel beams and floor to ceiling glass panes, joins an elite group of buildings to have been awarded a Grade II* listing, a grade that reflected English Heritage’s opinion that the house is “of more than special architectural interest”.

The electricity substation on Moore Street, Sheffield which was designed by Bryan Jefferson gets a grade II listing. It is described by English Heritage as having “scrupulously-finished concrete” that gives the building a ‘bold…. dramatic, sculptural feel’.

Jefferson Sheard Architects' Sheffield substation

Jefferson Sheard Architects’ Sheffield substation

Also making the grade is Gravesend’s Civil Defence Bunker which has also been ranked as Grade II standard. Described as a ‘rare surviving example of a purpose-built civil defence control centre’ the building is a relic of the Cold War.

The four join an illustrious group of around 700 post-war listed buildings.

Their listing has been timed to coincide with the opening of Brutal and Beautiful, an English Heritage exhibition examining “the nation’s love/hate relationship with our recent architectural past.’

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