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Is redundant old rubber factory worth saving?

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Is the derelict Brynmawr rubber factory really 'one of a few buildings of international quality in Wales'?

Can architect Victoria Parry be serious when she describes it as Wales' 'best building of the twentieth century'?

Perhaps it might be relevant to ask, bearing in mind its derelict and possibly dangerous state: 'If this building is to be preserved who is going to pay for it?'

The developer? Docomomo?

Prince Charles? No, it will be the taxpayer. And do the taxpayers ofWales want to keep this building? Who knows, since nobody has asked them!

While I would never advocate designing buildings purely for functional use, ie ignoring architectural flair, appearance, style and beauty, the question again begs to be asked: 'Just what is the purpose of any building?'

The answer must surely be that it is a tool, a device, an envelope used to facilitate human endeavour. This being so, when that tool, device, envelope reaches the end of its useful life it should be replaced by its modern equivalent.

How many of your readers would be prepared to drive a Model T Ford, or shave with a cut-throat razor? How many housewives would replace their automatic washing machine with a 'dolly-tub' no matter how well designed the tub was, and who fancies an earth closet down the garden?

Brynmawr is old, worn out, and of no further economic use or value, so let it go and concentrate instead on ensuring its replacement is as well designed for the twenty-first century as Brynmawr was for the twentieth.

Kenneth Dunning, Burntwood, Staffordshire

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