Art Deco `Gem' Falls Victim to Pounds 400m Redevelopment

By Jay Merrick Architecture Correspondent | The Independent (London, England), February 2, 2002 | Go to article overview
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Art Deco `Gem' Falls Victim to Pounds 400m Redevelopment


Jay Merrick Architecture Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)


ARCHITECTURAL conservationists are dismayed at the imminent loss of the Art Deco Guinness factory at Park Royal, west London, designed by Alexander Gibb and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, creator of the Bankside power station that is now the Tate Modern art gallery.

The factory is to be demol-ished to make way for a plant, offices, housing and an Underground station - another brick in the wall of Britain's architectural heritage being crushed by the weight of commercial imperative, opponents say.

Although the Guinness factory was a joint architectural project it was essentially Gibb who created the shape of the huge but decoratively restrained Art Deco environment for 1,500 workers who, from 1935, brewed millions of pints of stout a year, infused with milk from cows grazing on fields next to the plant.

The new development, to be completed by 2005, is par for the course. Park Royal's 560 hectares of business parks is Europe's biggest concentration, with more than 1,900 firms, employing 40,000 workers.

The only thing that could stop the demolition is protest, followed by an English Heritage listing, but this is unlikely. The pounds 400m development, by Guinness and London & Regional Properties, will bring 6,000 jobs, generating earnings estimated at pounds 45m in the Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith areas.

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