The Carbuncles of Gateshead

The famous/infamous Carbuncles of Gateshead deserve their own place on this website and there could be debate as to what constitutes a carbuncle. It doesn't, here, mean an actual carbuncle which is a severe abscess or multiple boil in the skin but the use of this expression in relation to an ugly or failed building. So let's say what is not meant here. Not included is, for example, St Cuthberts Village..

..despite featuring in Get Carter....
It was a total failure largely because, in my view, the tenant mix was wrong. It was otherwise a good way of separating the areas where children played from those used by cars and delivery vehicles. That was the idea behind its design. 
Despite St. Cuthberts Village having the shortest lifespan (only 25 years) lets label it a White Elephant


So let's name my Gateshead Carbuncles
Get Carter Car Park 1969-2010 (41 years).... by original Gateshead Council
Dunston Rocket 1972-2012 (40 years)....................by Whickham Urban District Council
Balmoral Drive Flats 1959-1987 (28 years)....... by Felling Urban District Council
Note the shortness of their existences



Two of the carbuncles are associated with this man, Owen Luder who was boss of the Architectural company that designed the so called brutalist (ugly) Get Carter car park


It was loosely based on another Luder product..the Tricorn Centre, Portsmouth
He defends his concrete products by saying they were designed in the sixties when steel was still rationed. Unbelievably, he was on the judges panel for the Carbunkle Cup award in 2014.. and the current Gateshead Town Centre was short listed
 

He and his team also designed the Dunston Rocket


The Balmoral Drive flats are down to the disgraced and jailed Andrew Cunningham who had his fingers in many pies and got involved with the crooked architectural designer/businessman, John Garlick Llewellyn Poulson who caused a major political scandal when his use of bribery came to light in 1972.

Andrew Cunningham's flats are gone





but his son, Jack, who was in Central Government and achieved nothing of substance, now carries the handle of Baron Cunningham of Felling


See also here



Carbunkle has come to mean a whole building or series of buildings in a scheme. Prince Charles did not have that in mind when he said it in 1984. He was talking about a traditional building (much loved friend) having a non traditional extension (carbunkle)


Quote : Instead of designing an extension to the elegant facade of the National Gallery which complements it and continues the concept of columns and domes, it looks as if we may be presented with a kind of municipal fire station, complete with the sort of tower that contains the siren. I would understand better this type of high-tech approach if you demolished the whole of Trafalgar Square and started again with a single architect responsible for the entire layout, but what is proposed is like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend : Unquote

Well said Charles.
The design was changed. 
The project for the extension of the National Gallery was a battle between modernists and traditionalists 
The Sainsbury Wing, as the extension is called, is now 25 years old

Carbunkles brought to you by
The Felling Heritage Group

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