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Thursday, February 14, 2008

England’s not the mythical land of Madame George and Roses

posted by on February 14 at 14:54 PM

Remember this wonderful building?
Remember how the British press celebrated this building and two others like it? A sample from The Guardian:

One giant leap for Britain! You wait around for a building finally to reflect our multicultural society - and then three come along at once…

…[The] staff are moving into the new Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford, an educational and information facility developed by the trust set up in honour of the young, black would-be architect who was [stabbed to death by racist thugs] in 1993.

…The three projects represent a major shift in Britain’s cultural landscape: for a country that often congratulates itself on its multi-ethnic vibrancy, Britain has built very little to show for it. These are just about the first publicly funded, purpose-built expressions of African-British culture in this country. They are not grand, expensive projects, but they are, in Adjaye’s mind at least, prototypes for a new, inclusive definition of public space that challenges “established topologies”.

Remember all that? Well guess what happened yesterday:

A 10m architectural centre built as a memorial to Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racist attack 15 years ago, has been vandalised just a week after it opened, can reveal.

Eight windows each worth 15,000 and designed by the Turner prizewinning artist Chris Ofili on the front of the new building in Deptford, south-east London, were destroyed overnight.

A Metropolitan police spokeswoman confirmed the attack was being treated as a racist incident.

“A number of windows had been broken and police were informed at 5.46am today. The hate crime unit at Lewisham CID are investigating the incident,” she said.

No arrests have been made and inquiries are continuing.

Attackers threw bricks at the windows from behind a 2.5m high metal fence surrounding the complex, said Karin Woodley, the chief executive of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.

A shift in the architecture does not represent a shift in the culture.

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"Remember how the British press celebrated this building and two others like it?"

Unless this is a rhetorical question, Chaz, the answer would be, "no!"

Posted by COMTE | February 14, 2008 3:02 PM

"THIS is why we can't have nice things!"

Posted by Wolf | February 14, 2008 3:04 PM

Charles, I *love* your posts on architecture. Even better when you can bring culture into the discussion. Bravo.

Please remember this comment the next time I foam at the mouth at one of your commie posts. Thanks.

Posted by Big Sven | February 14, 2008 3:23 PM

Jesus, these fucking yobs are the scum of the earth, aren't they? Whatever country they're from.

Charles, I'm surprised you haven't slogged about the Formula One fans in Spain who taunted the black British driver IN BLACKFACE at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Posted by Fnarf | February 14, 2008 5:24 PM

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