Public get say on modern face of Harrogate

Tis The Pyramid on Hornbeam Business Park in Harrogate.(09090311)
Tis The Pyramid on Hornbeam Business Park in Harrogate.(09090311)
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ARCHITECTURAL and cultural critic Owen Hatherley will decide the best modern building in Victorian spa town Harrogate as part of the town’s international festival fringe this summer.

The author of Militant Modernism and A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain will be spurning its famous tea rooms and flowerbeds to choose The Best Modern Building in Harrogate from a shortlist picked by ‘People’s Choice’ by the public of Harrogate.

The town is acknowledged as one of the UK’s most beautiful Victorian spa towns but is it also at the cutting edge of contemporary architecture?

The Best Modern Building in Harrogate competition will see Hatherley, the renowned London-based architectural and cultural critic of The Guardian, coming to town to judge for himself.

The author will be spurning Harrogate’s famous tea rooms and flowerbeds to choose the winner from a shortlist of modern buildings picked by the public of the town themselves.

The announcement of the result on Saturday, July 7 at 6pm will take place at the launch of a companion exhibition at 108 Fine Art gallery, Harrogate’s leading centre of modern and contemporary art.

Past Dreams of the Future aims to how that the ideas of Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright and the Bauhaus had an impact even in the treelined avenues of this North Yorkshire town.

Curated by Graham Chalmers, Past Dreams of the Future will present alternative visions for the town which never quite happened.

With the support of Harrogate Civic Society and North Yorkshire County Council’s archive department, the event will highlight ambitious developments for the town which reached the planning stage without ever reaching fruition.

Graham Chalmers said: “There’s more to Harrogate than The Stray and the Turkish Baths, as great as they are. Some people actually like flat roofs and right angles.

“Not all of the plans for modern architecture have got past the planning stage in Harrogate but unrealised possibilties leave traces.

“It says something that a writer of Owen Hatherley’s stature is prepared to judge the competition.”

The winner of The Best Modern Building in Harrogate competition will be the proud recipient of a plaque commissioned by Harrogate firm Acceleris, one of the regions leading PR and Communications agencies.

Public nominations for the longlist open on Friday, May 25. The shortlist will be judged by Andrew Stewart of 108 Fine Art, Harrogate Civic Society, Peter Davenport, managing director of Acceleris, and Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser.

The finalists will be announced on Friday, June 22.

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