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Rogers backs listing bid for Grimshaw's ‘Ship’

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Richard Rogers has thrown his weight behind a campaign to list Nicholas Grimshaw’s award-winning Western Morning News HQ and printworks in Plymouth

The prominent architect has backed a campaign by the Twentieth Century Society to list the £33.5m award-winning office building, which was completed only 22 years ago.

Roger’s said: ‘It is my understanding that the Western Morning News Building is under threat of demolition.

‘The quality of the building as a transparent glazed structure is such that I would support consideration of giving the building listed status as recommended by the 20th Century Society.’

Last month the Twentieth Century Society submitted an ‘urgent spot listing application’ for the former headquarters building after it emerged its owner – The Daily Mail – had submitted an application to demolish the landmark.

Plymouth MP Alison Seabeck is writing to secretary of state for culture, media and sport Ed Vaizey to voice her support of the listing application and has informed the local council of her opposition to the proposals.

Nicholas Grimshaw, 75, has also hit out at plans to flatten the £33.5 million building. The founder of AJ100 practice Grimshaw Architects said: ‘We would be very happy to support anyone who is considering a new purpose for this building, while we would wholeheartedly back any attempt to grant it listed status.

‘My belief is that architecturally speaking the former Western Morning News Headquarters is an important building.

‘At the time it was erected with enormous enthusiasm by architect and client alike and went on to win a number of awards.’

He added: ‘Despite no longer fulfilling its original use, the building still offers a beautiful enclosure and strong structural bones which invite a number of future uses’.

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’.

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