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Luder shocked by 'lynch-mob' attack on Derwent Tower

Designer of Gateshead's controversial tower hits back at scheme's detractors

Owen Luder, the architect behind the much-derided Derwent Tower in Gateshead, has attacked ‘the lynch-mob mentality’ of the building’s detractors.
The 29-storey tower, known as the Dunston Rocket, was commissioned by Whickham Council and completed in 1972, but now faces demolition.
But, the 71-year architect – who also designed Portsmouth’s now-demolished Tricorn Centre which was voted Britain’s ugliest building in a BBC Radio 4 poll – has told the Gateshead Chronicle that he is ‘flabbergasted’ that the Council wants to bulldoze his Brutalist 29-storey monument.
Referring to his Trinity Square car park, also in Gateshead, which is also due to be razed to the ground and which is famous for a scene in ’60s classic film Get Carter, Luder said: ‘I can understand why people want rid of the “Get Carter” car park because it’s crumbling.
‘But it staggers me that at a time when we need affordable housing, officials seriously consider pulling down a perfectly good block of flats. My instinct is that there’s no case for knocking it down’.
Luder, who served two terms as president of RIBA from 1981 to 1983 and 1995 to 1998, added: ‘What hurts me is that people don’t look at the Rocket objectively. People just say “knock it down” without any real thought or justification.
‘It’s the lynch mob mentality of “bring it to the ground” without considering its importance.’

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