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Are these Derry’s worst buildings?

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29.11.2017

Derry is blessed with an array of beautiful and interesting buildings. Yet stitched in between there also lurk a few architectural horrors which impact the overall look of our city.

This Tuesday sees the awarding of the annual ‘Stirling Prize’ for the best new building in the UK. To mark that occasion Derry-style, here’s my list of what I think are the ten worst buildings locally. See if you agree:

10. Foyleside: A worthy contender for three key reasons. Firstly - proximity to the walls makes this a sensitive site deserving of a building much more sympathetic to its surroundings.

Secondly – combined with the Bus Station and Central Library, the building makes Foyle Street look like a red bricked canyon. And thirdly – its layout and design has reduced the southern end of Foyle Street to nothing more than a warehouse for cars devoid of life at street-level.

9. Crescent Link: The Waterside escapes lightly in this list, with Crescent Link the sole standard bearer for BT47. In an age where out-of-town shopping centres have long fallen from favour elsewhere, Crescent Link was granted planning permission on the magical thinking that a large car-centred fringe shopping area wouldn’t negatively impact our city centre or road network.

Reality has shown the opposite to be true, leaving town planners scratching their heads and wondering where they went wrong. Never mind – they’re still permitting further development there even now. When you’re in a hole….

8. Richmond Centre: People of a certain age have fond memories of ‘The Richie’. In the 1980s it provided retail hope for our heavily bombed town centre, as well as somewhere for teenagers to idle on Saturday afternoons.

But it’s no looker – and fronting onto five streets within the walled city, it fails to add architectural merit to any of them.

The Richie’s been there for so long that we’ve become largely immune to the aesthetic insult it still offers our walled city. And in a further two-fingered........

© Derry Journal