January 31 2015 Latest news:
Friday, January 17, 2014
For many it is regarded as one of Norwich’s worst eyesores, but as far as Nick Dixey is concerned Sovereign House, near Anglia Square, is a great piece of architecture. Tell us the buildings in Norfolk that others hate, but you love by using the comments section below.
More great Georgian terraces were destroyed by 1930s property developers than Second World War bombing. With hindsight, it should not have been allowed.
However, I believe we are about to make the same mistake with Anglia Square in Norwich.
There’s a mindset abroad in Norfolk that if something is old it’s good, and the reverse. At Anglia Square most see cruel Brutalism where I see successful Modernism.
Sovereign House is so sadly run down that it will take a Herculean effort to restore it to its proper condition.
This is such a shame as it, too, has tremendous architectural quality. The spiral stairway turrets at its corners appear to balance on a pin of concrete; I enjoy this every time I see it.
As a whole it reminds me of Marineville from Stingray. The brick battlements of its central tower reflect the castle beautifully; it’s an asset to the city.
If only people could look beyond the poor reputation of architecture from this era they might see something outstanding. Convert it to flats and I’ll be in the queue to buy one.
Even the car park at Anglia Square displays aircraft carrier-like majesty, it’s a magnificent edifice, sadly crumbling due to cheap construction, a lesson we don’t seem able to learn.
My view will not change anything, though. Sovereign House will be demolished to make way for cheap, mediocrity, probably accommodating another Tesco superstore. See the grey sheds of wasted opportunity at Riverside for a preview.
The loss of Sovereign House, a piece of architecture of character and confidence, will actually diminish our city and make it less fine than it is now.
Or dare we show some of the same vision that built it?
Nick Dixey is an amateur writer and casual observer.