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'Unusual' 1970s market building listed

Huddersfield's 'highly unusual' Queensgate Market Hall has been listed, a move which could save the 1970s building from demolition as part of a planned regeneration of the area.

Yesterday culture minister David Lammy delighted local campaigners who had battled to protect the hall when he announced the 'structurally innovative' market building would be given a Grade II listing.

According to English Heritage, Queensgate Market is the best surviving specimen of a retail market from the 1960s and '70s anywhere in the country and is 'a key exemplar of a building type that is currently under particular threat.'

Designed by the J Seymour Harris Partnership and opened in 1970, the market hall is perhaps best known for its stunning roof structure, which is made of 21 asymmetric paraboloid shells, and its abstract art in relief created by German émigré sculptor, Fritz Steller.

From the outside, the lightweight concrete roof sections cantilever or 'appear to fly' above the rest of the building.

Lammy said: 'It is an imaginative structure that uses the innovative technology of its time to produce a dramatic space full of natural light with the striking focal point of the roof.

'The preliminary decision to list the structure was taken on the advice of English Heritage and CABE and supported by the result of the public consultation.'

Cordula Zeidler of the 20th Century Society, who put the building forward for listing, was also overjoyed by the decision. She said: 'This is one of the most outstanding post-war buildings in the region.

'The local authority will now need to recognise that the building is protected and I hope the listing will save its future.'

She added: 'It is quite rare to get these kinds of building through.

'It is a very striking 1970s building and there are certainly a lot of people up there who appreciate it and love it.'

by Richard Waite

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