An e-petition on the City of York Council website is proposing that the development at Stonebow should be knocked-down in a bid to improve the architectural ambience of the city.
The petition states that “The centre of this beautiful, historic city is blighted by the hideous Stonebow House, a tall, unsightly 1960s office block near the historic Shambles (voted Most Picturesque Street in Britain in 2010).”
It goes on to quote David Lloyd, from the Esher Report, “Stonebow House is “a piece of architecture crudely designed in the ‘New Brutalism’ style of the late 1950s”.”
Currently home to two of York’s best known venues, Fibbers and The Duchess, the development does appear sad and unkempt and is topped with an office block that towers above the adjacent buildings, such as the beautiful Grade II listed Central Methodist Chapel, built in 1840 that is currently hidden behind the ’60s block.
The building is one of York’s most well known eye-sores, right up there with the Park Inn and the now demolished public toilets on Parliament Street, known affectionately (or not) as ‘the splash palace‘.
So what do you think of Stonebow? Beauty is after all in the eye of the beholder, and for some the concrete austerity and imposing grayness may inspire love in those with a fondness for Eastern Bloc brutalism, who find the fussy chocolate box timber overhangs of the Shambles just a little too much. Like preferring the modern minimalism of Kraftwerk, or the coldness of Joy Division to the folky whisperings of Nick Drake, or the pitch-perfect over the top stylings of Jeff Buckley, aesthetics are subjective, a matter of personal taste.
Let us know your thoughts on Stonebow, and tell us what other eyesores, if the decision were yours, would you like to see removed or rehabilitated.
The ePetition runs until 29 May and can be found here.