‘Sublime Beauty’ may not be the words you would normally use to describe this facade, but they are the words used by Architect Sam Jacob when he nominated this multi-storey car park in Welbeck Street, just north of Oxford Street in Central London, for the Design Museum’s Lesser Known Architecture Show in 2013. He wrote: ‘here infrastructure is handled with such delicacy that all its rawness is elevated to sublime beauty’. He also described it as: ‘simultaneously practical and symbolic’.
The building is a product of the Brutalist era of Architecture, of which the Barbican Centre in London is a prime example. It was designed by Michael Blampied and Partners, and built in 1971.
The sad news is that this building may soon be demolished. While researching for information on this building I came across an article dated Feb 2016 (click here to view it) that reported that the car park was in the process of being sold and was likely to be demolished and the site then re-developed.
This building no longer has that newly built pristine look, but the rain-stained concrete has acquired mood and atmosphere over the years that suggests something slightly sinister. To me it has tremendous appeal as a work of symmetry and design, and definitely it has a raw and sublime beauty.