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Wednesday30 July 2014

Victorian Society warns on conservation zone building 'gone wrong'

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Group uses project in Lancaster to highlight concerns

The Victorian Society has said that lessons should be learnt from a student housing scheme in Lancaster which involved combining the existing facade with a new one in a conservation zone.

Liverpool architect Union North Architects was behind the project which incorporated an existing stone structure with a new grid of gold-framed windows.

union north lancaster

Union North’s student housing scheme in Lancaster

Developer CityBlock was given planning by the city council back in 2010 with the 96-bed block opening in time for the start of the 2012 academic year.

But Victorian Society director Chris Costelloe said it was highlighting the building as part of a campaign about building in conservation areas.

He said: “It wouldn’t be realistic to try and get it knocked down. This is about learning lessons for the future and looking at examples of things like this when they go wrong.”

At the time it was given planning, the project was backed by north-west architecture centre Places Matter! which described it as “a sophisticated scheme that will provide a strong architectural statement for the historic city of Lancaster”.

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Readers' comments (25)

  • It looks a right mess with that render - why not paint the top part pale blue to make it look like sky to compete the effect? Or clad it with mirrors!

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  • Sorry - "complete" not "compete" !

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  • Seymour Alexander

    Maybe if they clad the new upper section in some blue coated wood it would make a spectacularly improved impact.

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  • Hey - I think this is a really cool project !

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  • I can see an interesting concept there and, hey: it's not got random width, random colour panels on it!

    There looks to have been quite a bit of value engineering and shoddy workmanship from the ghost substrate bleeding through the render. But, quite honestly, I've seen loads worse and I'm not entirely sure it justifies being singled out.

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  • Its like a VE version of what you see in Rome, but without the skill, quality materials or proper execution

    http://lyndsieblundell.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/layers-of-rome.html

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  • Before I actually read the article I thought it was going to be about a pretty cool extension to fairly ordinary old building.The windows on a strict grid knitting the whole ensemble together etc.
    I even thought the wet render was a pretty interesting idea.

    Oh well, just goes to show how wrong you can be.
    Those folk down at the victorian society really know their onions.

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  • I agree with Duncan

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  • Munter Roe

    Munter likes this work.

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  • robert hodges

    Another case of a society getting the architecture that it deserves?

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