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C20 Society in last ditch listing bid to save Grimshaw’s Ship

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The Twentieth Century (C20) Society warns demolishing Grimshaw’s award-winning The Ship in Plymouth would be a ‘significant loss to the region’

The campaign group has announced an ‘urgent spot listing application’ for the former Western Morning News headquarters and printworks building.

Earlier this week it emerged the landmark’s owner – The Daily Mail – had submitted an application to Plymouth City Council to flatten the RIBA Award-winning newspaper production and printing facility.

Commenting on the application, Henrietta Billings of the C20 Society said: ‘This striking building is a beautifully crafted ship-shaped Plymouth landmark.’

She continued: ‘Designed to be completely transparent, the design of the extraordinary structure draws on the city’s proud nautical history. It is a unique building of distinction - there is nothing else like it in Plymouth from this period or by such a prestigious architect.’

She added: ‘To demolish it would not only be a shocking waste of resources, it would also be a significant loss to the region’s 20th century architecture.’

The iconic building, which was completed in 1993, has stood empty since local title Western News moved out in July 2013.

Nicknamed The Ship, the hillside structure houses 5,671m² of offices and a further 6,459m² of production space and won Grimshaw a RIBA Award in 1994.

The steel and glass building was planned to enable all production and editorial areas to be located on one level. The office space wraps around a full-height central atrium.

According to the planning documents, the building’s re-use is ‘unviable’ and it is currently in ‘a generally poor state of repair and is highly unsustainable’.

Since the £33.5 million building became vacant, the newspaper group claims it has not been possible to find a new tenant for the headquarters.

The report stated: ‘The building’s design is so bespoke that, in reality, any occupier other than a mixed office and newspaper printing and production operator is unlikely to want to take the space’.

Grimshaw has been contacted for comment.

Plymouth Architectural Trust comment

Win Scutt, chair of the Plymouth Architectural Trust said: ‘Nicholas Grimshaw is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest living architects. His practice’s 1993 Western Morning News building inspired Plymouth with the South West’s most elegant industrial building of the late 20th century. It is a stunning piece of architecture that is now threatened by an insane land-price bubble and the Daily Mail Group’s greed and lack of imagination.The Plymouth Architectural Trust is passionate about this iconic building and is joining with the Twentieth Century Society to try to save it from the demolition squad.’

 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Plymouth can ill afford to lose such a fine modern building, so I just hope that there's sufficient strength to the both inspirational and practical 'can do' spirit of those challenging the demolition proposal to win out over the remote and mean-spirited 'can't do' culture of the Daily Mail

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