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    KEEp It or KNOCk It DOWn?

    João Gameiro Neves Feb 3 '11 16

    The problem is simple:

    I present here a building which has a short life span...

    Many people (locals) want to make it disappear, placing the so called Tesco(r) urbanism.

    KNOCK IT DOWN? KEEP IT? (yeah, how so?)


    I ask you guys, what do you think about the building and what should happen, be sharp as I don't provide much information about it.
    Please just comment here, based on what you see (addressed is a brief description of the building, contextualizing on the site and on these days).


    Burlington tower, designed to be a hotel and a shopping mall in the 60’s, the previously office building has been abandoned for over nine years, waiting for the supposed sentence for its demolition. With a typical design of the international style, its structure and composition lies on a simple concrete struc- ture of slabs and columns, repeated along the floors. Has no influences from its context, having no roots that save this building to the surroundings.
    Ultimately the site and a large area around it is earmarked for re-development (and has been for years, much to the impatience of Dovorians). Widely mooted locally to be “the ugliest building in Dover”, the locals can’t wait to see the back of it.

    “Burlington House is coming down, coming down, crashing down! (we hope)” Tez, doverlocals.co.uk

    “ will be there, champagne in hand, when that monstrosity finally hits the deck! Anyone for a party?” Lili, doverlocals. co.uk

    “ LiLi you get to push the plunger......BOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!! Bye Burlington House” Ricky, doverlocals. co.uk

    “ Burlington House was never this interesting” Phill, doverlocals.co.uk

    “ Widely mooted locally to be “the ugliest building in Dover” (beating off some stiff competition, presumably) the locals can’t wait to see the back of it.” Gerald, 28dayslater. co.uk
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    • 16 Comments

    • m&m inck
      Feb 3, 11 12:16 pm

      I happen to be a ''fan'' of brutalist concrete architecture. this is quite a monster though. however I would choose to keep this and vamp it up anyday instead of replacing it with yet another aluminum clad tesco building. example of ''ugly'' buildings in UK that have been renovated , New Castle's Baltic Mill.

      m&m inck
      Feb 3, 11 12:17 pm

      I happen to be a ''fan'' of brutalist concrete architecture. this is quite a monster though. however I would choose to keep this and vamp it up anyday instead of replacing it with yet another aluminum clad tesco building. example of ''ugly'' buildings in UK that have been renovated , New Castle's Baltic Mill.

      m&m inck
      Feb 3, 11 12:17 pm

      I happen to be a ''fan'' of brutalist concrete architecture. this is quite a monster though. however I would choose to keep this and vamp it up anyday instead of replacing it with yet another aluminum clad tesco building. example of ''ugly'' buildings in UK that have been renovated , New Castle's Baltic Mill.

      m&m inck
      Feb 3, 11 12:17 pm

      I happen to be a ''fan'' of brutalist concrete architecture. this is quite a monster though. however I would choose to keep this and vamp it up anyday instead of replacing it with yet another aluminum clad tesco building. example of ''ugly'' buildings in UK that have been renovated , New Castle's Baltic Mill.

      Nam HendersonNam Henderson
      Feb 3, 11 3:00 pm

      Love the one image of the car parked under the hulking Brutalist tower...

      Seems like a shame to let all that embodied energy go to waste.

      João Gameiro Neves
      Feb 3, 11 6:52 pm

      The way the facade embraces the structure is also quite interesting..
      People call it the concrete cancer,...I'm not saying is a great piece of modern architecture, but at least addresses paramount keys like useful area, great location and flexibility of spaces. Besides is right at the sea front (the facade of Dover, the facade of UK - when you come by ferry), why not think about the usage of this "already" built infrastructure.

      It is challenging to think what to do to this mono. Is relevant at least to think about the money they will spend on demolition, and the tesco/ASDA urbanism impact that it will generate on people's lifes (locals) and to the future urban and cultural future of the city. I'm not keen, at all, that these kind of "regeneration method" will provide deployment of the cities' sustainable scope.

      Another vacant place, which function shoudn't be, personally, something inert and permanent, but actually the dynamic and flexible element, missing in this city, case of many cities

      João Gameiro Neves
      Feb 3, 11 6:52 pm

      The way the facade embraces the structure is also quite interesting..
      People call it the concrete cancer,...I'm not saying is a great piece of modern architecture, but at least addresses paramount keys like useful area, great location and flexibility of spaces. Besides is right at the sea front (the facade of Dover, the facade of UK - when you come by ferry), why not think about the usage of this "already" built infrastructure.

      It is challenging to think what to do to this mono. Is relevant at least to think about the money they will spend on demolition, and the tesco/ASDA urbanism impact that it will generate on people's lives (locals) and to the future urban and cultural future of the city. I'm not keen, at all, that these kind of "regeneration method" will provide deployment of the cities' sustainable scope.

      Another vacant place, which function shouldn't be, personally, something inert and permanent, but actually the dynamic and flexible element, missing in this city, case of many cities

      João Gameiro Neves
      Feb 3, 11 7:00 pm

      good suggestion M&M inck, tks!

      namhenderson, definitely, and actually, that car is there because there is a kebab shop behind the tower.... the restaurant on the side closed as well..
      Dover is suffering from this abandoning condition..the downtown seems to be opening space to some interesting projections, maybe to confront the current master planning to that area

      Nam HendersonNam Henderson
      Feb 3, 11 8:35 pm

      as long as it isn't a "pop-up"... I kid.

      João Gameiro Neves
      Feb 3, 11 10:05 pm

      pop-up is what will happen, poping-up asda urbanism.

      sea front and then a big retail shop as a urban filter? as a first UK example of a in development city? I would like to think something more useful to the locals will "pop-up" to the council desks and maybe will become a nice urban sewing exercise (considering, so far, just the downtown of Dover)

      mk2
      Feb 4, 11 4:57 am

      have to agree with nam.. that photo reveals the massive scale of the building. reminiscent of some old Corbu photo-montages?

      the window detail looks very similar to saarinen's US embassy..? like a double sash for operable windows?

      joao, do you know anything about the architect?

      João Gameiro Neves
      Feb 4, 11 5:29 am

      true mk2, definitely reminds some 'cheap' version of lecorbu/mies features. Although the facade is quite funny yet interesting, in the between windows runs a concrete 'rail'(i'll add a better pic soon), reminding the conceptual proposal for the leisure platform, using the 'I' steel of the facade of the seagram building in nyc, by those crazy guys, snafu (you can find them at pamphlet architecture #21), worth to check it.
      The architect is still a mith, haven't found anything about it.

      Steven WardSteven Ward
      Feb 5, 11 7:49 am

      definitely a good candidate for complete re-creation. the design challenge may be to assess each element of the existing construction and treat it 'surgically': how much can you save while still achieving a completely new architectural expression? (i actually like the concrete rail detail.)

      Lian Chikako Chang
      Feb 5, 11 9:41 am

      That front facade reminds me of Edmonton's 'CN Tower' (note: not Toronto's CN tower). But only in this frontal sense of a tower superimposed over a low building at the base as the rest of it seems quite different. Actually, I think it's kinda cool, how it rests perpendicularly on its base, and extends out to rest on those three piers.

      Unless it's irreparably a safety hazard, it seems like a waste and an unimaginative solution to just tear it down.

      João Gameiro Neves
      Feb 7, 11 1:35 pm

      The "re-creation" process is, itself, a tough task which every decision is on its own, polemic. The surgically process compromises a new concept, a new use. I agree, Steven, that new regeneration imply to decide weather should keep one thing and/or another, and those decisions may compromise the feasibility of keeping the building or doing something from the scratch.
      Although, in this case, in hands, is a modern lecorbu's style of building, having its flexible open space' multi stories. Therefore is flexible enough not only to afford new programme as it is able to have a new skin. Buildings haven't change that much to assume this "column-beam-slab" concrete structure is not that outdated.
      Tks for the tip, Lian, definitely the way the tower sits on the (programmatic not related) base looks quite similar to the Burlington Tower complex.
      The entrance of the building is covered with wooden and steel boards, so the entrace is limited to some legal/illegal procedure, but I bet the only space on the ground floor (belonging to the tower itself) is the accessibility to the upper floors.

      Btw, I added one more photo of the tower, showing better the facade system

      Anyone of you guys know temporary regenerative proposals for similar situations?

      João Gameiro Neves
      Mar 17, 11 6:33 am

      Apparently this discussion expanded, reaching a more local discussion as well, a local newspaper was informed about this entry at Archinect and made a nice reference about the relevance of the dubious future of this tower (Burlington House) in Dover.

      Give a look:

      http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/news/Blog-spot-discussion-asks-knock/article-3252819-detail/article.html

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