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Astragal: Bring in the respectful bulldozers

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Broadway Malyan’s plans to pulverise the 1961 Grade II-listed former Birds Eye headquarters in Walton-Upon-Thames, Surrey, and replace it with 375 delicious new homes were simply unpalatable for some

Even though the Twentieth Century Society gave the scheme a particularly frosty (some might say frozen) reception, the proposals were waved through last year.

The building was one of the first corporate HQs to be built outside London, but according to developers A2 Dominion and Crest Nicholson, retaining the original structure was financially unviable, costing up to £40 million to save. 

The insurmountable problems with the John Burnet, Tait & Partners-designed offices apparently included asbestos-lined, single-glazed, non-thermally-broken anodised aluminium panels.

The building has now been flattened and its destruction shared on social media, together with pictures of the mounds of rubble juxtaposed with the developers’ hoardings non-ironically proclaiming the scheme was ‘respecting a treasured past’. 

As the last remnants were bulldozed away, Dom Greves tweeted: ‘Respecting’ of Walton’s former Grade II-listed Birds Eye Building is now almost complete. It has been FULLY RESPECTED.’

Putting out fires

Who is writing the script for the Glasgow School of Art soap opera? The juicy feud between the institution’s top brass seemed far-fetched, but the school’s latest episode really pushes the limits of credulity.

Video footage has been unearthed of a fire-dancing act ‘gone wrong’ held at and organised by the school’s student union Assembly Hall venue in June. 

The footage, recently obtained by the Herald on Sunday, shows hundreds of people watching a woman suspend herself from ropes, before dancing and stripping in front of a carpet of naked flame. 

Unfortunately (but perhaps unsurprisingly) the impressive fire filled the room with smoke, triggering alarms and prompting the venue’s evacuation. 

Even better, it happened on the anniversary of the latest fire to rip through the Mac in 2018, devastating the 1909 landmark. 

The show has been described as crass and tasteless by Glasgow politicians. Ratings for the long-running GSA saga must be sky high!

Boom boom!

A young MP from New Zealand has gone viral over her quick-fire put-down when a heckler interrupted her speech on the climate emergency. 

‘OK boomer,’ retorted 25-year-old Chloë Swarbrick before speaking on, undeterred. 

Beginning life as a millennial meme, the insult has now become a rallying cry for all Gen Z-ers to dismiss the out-of-touch Baby Boomer generation. 

And it was recently fired across intergenerational battle lines closer to home. 

Discussing airports and the current debate over whether architects should design them, ZHA boss Patrik Schumacher tweeted dramatically: ‘Without air travel, extinction is imminent.’ 

‘OK Boomer,’ snapped back young upstarts We Made That. To be fair, Schumacher has had it coming ever since he said millennials didn’t need living rooms. 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • As an aside from the sadly legal destruction of the listed Birds Eye offices, how much criticism has there been of the fate of the listed Coal Drops buildings that were butchered by Thomas Heatherwick at Kinga Cross?
    And why no moves (as far as I know) to hold demolition contractors responsible for checking that their work is legal, pre-destruction?
    I'm thinking of the Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale - which incidentally seems now to have arisen once more from the rubble, but for unknown future use.

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