COVENTRY ELEPHANT – DUST NEVER SETTLES, RUST NEVER SLEEPS, PEOPLE NEVER FORGET
Coventry's Elephant building is offered a new future!
DISAPPEAR HERE is pleased to hear that new proposals to rescue Coventry's elephant have been proposed to the city's council – a long overdue movement to save one of the city's great Modernist structures.
We've been here before – back in early 2017, DH's Editor wrote a classically sprawling and gushingly effusive account arguing for the elephant as an iconic structure that echoes an important symbol for the city, the likes of which we are unlikely to see again once they are lost to us [particularly given the mass-blandishment of much current architecture that is forced upon us by a few firms producing the same bare wood and rusted metal exposed frames that is the current fleeting vogue].
More importantly, the current proposals put forward by the brains behind brilliant re-purposing of the CET pop-up exhibition space will revitalise the usefulness of the Elephant to make it an accessible space for arts and culture for everyone in the city – hats off to Alan Denyer and his team of volunteers for striking a bold precedent in showing what is possible.
As with any stand-out structure that confronts people with challenging appearances, at the risk of alienating abstract pretension, the Elephant remains alliteratively controversial as shown in the local rag that bears the conservationist's brand – Love it or Loathe it?! Nothing confirms vox populi than an online click vote...
The move comes after numerous calls for Coventry to get its head together to restore, revitalise and preserve its bold and striking legacy of Modernist and Brutalist architecture, which is all too easily over-looked in favour of "progress" - meaning new and shiny things designed to bedazzle the proletariat.
DH particularly welcomed the patronage and endorsement of metropole architectural scion, Owen Hatherley [who has written several books offering learned opinions on why old architecture matters]. He underlined the cultural value of Coventry's identity quite literally set in stone and concrete, arguing for Coventry City Council to act upon the long-term efforts of the 20th Century Society for the city, as a 2021 City of Culture to be, and to embrace its central shopping space, plaza and promenades for future generations. Only for eight sites, including the elephant pole [look up!] to be listed in March of this year. This is progress.
The Elephant building, and many other architectural features of Coventry [ahem, The Ringroad] cast a long shadow over the city, but they can only be rescued and made into something fantastic by the combined will and support of its citizens, action from Coventry City Council and lone go-getter artists/innovators/rebels – long live the elephant!
Inspiration comes from the strangest places!
And here's some fun COV Elephant facts...