Wednesday 9 February 2011

modernist swindon

apologies for the delay in updating my blog. i have been working on a lot of exciting projects lately, one of which took me back to my home town.
in recent years Swindon has gone from being one of the fastest growing towns in europe to one of the fastest declining. i have a fondness for this town although every time i return certain areas sometimes change beyond recognition and a little more love dies. one area of debate is the town centre, like most town centres across the uk it has been hit hard over the last decade with the trend towards out-of-town shopping centres, internet shopping and the recession at large. in my opinion it has not been helped by moving the main college to the periphery with many students now needing to take two or even three buses to college, this move instantly removed the student population from the 'top' of the town. at the 'bottom' of the town, the once interesting Bridge street has become a no go area full of pubs, clubs, some of which are already closed down empty spaces. The Brunel Shopping Centre was redeveloped in the 1990s and has never been fully occupied since. some prime locations are now filled by discount stores and charity shops.
The postcard at the top of this post dates from the 1970s. this is the swindon that i grew up in.
the original brunel centre had a busy indoor market area which was pushed out during for the redevelopment to make way for House of Fraser which has now become a House of Fraser 'Outlet' resembling the messy bazaar market that the space once was.
other than the rotating cocktail bar still standing in the brunel rooms nightclub (now the liquid rooms) there are still a few bits of modernist archaeology to be found.
original 1970s signage and store front
 the rear of Sainsburys doesn't warrant the same updating as the front of the store, mainly as it is a neglected walkway and service bay area. this does however mean that there are some gems to be found.
inside the store, the original tiled walls include a fantastic S monogrammed boarder
a close up of the signage. stainless steel framed letters, orange perspex inserts with neon inside. mounted of a staggered state tile background.
more rather boring modernist archaeology coming soon.

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