Staircase and entrance corridor at risk after government refuses listing
Staff at Essex University are attempting to stop the demolition of parts of the campus’ main library, which was recommended for grade II listing by English Heritage earlier this year.
In May the Architects’ Co-Partnership-designed Albert Sloman Library was turned down for listing by architecture minister John Penrose, putting its staircase, known as the Cloisters, and entrance corridor at risk of demolition.
Staff and campaigners led by the university’s professor of art history Jules Lubbock will this week submit an appeal of the decision by Penrose.
Lubbock said: “The university sent round a notice saying demolition was imminent and have put up fencing and closed the staircase off from the inside.”
Patel Taylor is behind proposals to extend the library, which are currently waiting for approval from the council. The scheme will include a new student centre, lakeside square and a board room for the university council.
Christina Malathouni, senior conservation adviser at the Twentieth Century Society, said: “English Heritage have recommended listing, so you can’t question that the building is of significance. Starting to destroy it without planning permission is not right.”
A university spokesperson added: “The requisite Building Notice to undertake the enabling works is in place.
“Subject to planning permission, work on the new £21 million building will start later this year and is due for completion around Easter 2014.”
“It is a prominent, finely detailed building in the Brutalist tradition exhibiting both sculptural quality and robust functionality. The expansive glazing on the reading floors provides a strong horizontal emphasis, the subtle treatment of the concrete finishes exhibits good craftsmanship and the details are meticulous, consistent and thoughtful.”