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In Voca’s blog she looks at the Newcastle Central Development Plan from 1962 during the era of the famous Newcastle City Council Chairman T Dan Smith. The proposals (sometimes referred to as the ‘vertical city’ were highly ambitious and only partially realised. Voca does a good job of briefly explaining the key elements and examines a few of the structures from this period which have since been demolished (including the Bank of England on Pilgrim Street and the old Newcastle City Library). Finally Voca looks at two projects from this Brutalist era which have survived, Manors car park and Newcastle Civic Centre (both of which I would agree with Voca do add to the mixture of Newcastle’s urban landscape and, particularly the civic centre, have become landmarks in the city).

Though Voca has looked at this development through the lense of modernist architecture it would’ve been interesting to have seen more of her thoughts on the travel infrastructure added by the proposals, arguably the key feature of the ‘vertical city’. Also it would’ve been interesting to hear what criticism she has of some of the remnants of this infrastructure with some areas (such as the pedestrian bridges over the central motorway between manors and New Bridge Street) still highly problematic. The central motorway is also highly controversial and flawed in its implementation and was allegedly designed and built for cars travelling on the right hand side of the road, evidence for which can be seen in areas where off and on ramps are closed or uncompleted, particular in the area West of the city centre behind the Northumbria university campus.

Overall however this is a huge topic to cover in one blog and I appreciate Voca’s ability to focus specifically on the architectural remnants.

Voca’s Blog: http://www.nclurbandesign.org/2018/04/modernization-attempt-newcastle-upon-tyne/

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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