Midlands Today: John Madin's landmarks disappearing from the city / BBC Midlands/ 2015

Midlands Today: John Madin's landmarks disappearing from the city / BBC Midlands/ 2015


Footnotes

Buildings bear witness to the tiny dramas that make us human. If we turn concrete to dust, where do those memories go? Madin's buildings were the backdrops for a million Brummies' lives – though as time slipped by, they forgot to notice. ➡︎

Some will wonder what this pattern of destruction says about the city and its relationship to the built environment. To be fair to Birmingham, it seems unlikely that the civic grandees have been singling out Madin. Birmingham has a long history of destroying its best architecture, going back decades. Despite Joseph Chamberlain’s Victorian city having once been seen as a global model for good urban governance, this has never prevented subsequent council administrations from seeking to erase all evidence of it. In the Thirties, Charles Barry’s King Edward’s School was replaced by an Odeon cinema (not even a good one). And in the Sixties and Seventies vast swathes of Victorian Birmingham were bulldozed to build the inner ring road. Pugin’s Bishop’s House made way for more asphalt, although St Chad’s Cathedral itself was miraculously spared. Now once again the best architecture from an entire architectural era has been almost erased. ➡︎


Extras

◼︎ A brutal end for the vision of John Madin / Tamlyn Jones / Birmingham Post / 2015


Sources

◼︎ The man who built Brum: A lament for the demise of John Madin's Brutalist Birmingham / Christopher Beanland / The Independent / 2013

◼︎ John Madin was first a victor, then a victim of Birmingham's identity crisis / Ben Flatman / BD Online / 2016


Six Men: John Madin / John Bird / BBC / 1965

Six Men: John Madin / John Bird / BBC / 1965

Out with a Bang: 1812 overture tribute to Birmingham Central Library / Trapeze Film / 2016

Out with a Bang: 1812 overture tribute to Birmingham Central Library / Trapeze Film / 2016