Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Obvious but not iconic

To: The Editor, Observer Review.
Sir,

Thank you for publishing "One city's towering folly" on Sunday. It is indeed successfully highlighting a distinct imprudence, not that a pair of generic cooling towers that could frankly be anywhere in the UK are going to be demolished, but that Tom James and Go are so pot committed to their wonderful art project falling with the towers.

Tom hits the nail on the head, Sheffield is famous more for things like cutlery and Cocker than for many of the great culture we have going on here, but that isn't going to get better by putting art in a silly building in a part of the city that no-one goes to unless they are shopping at Meadowhall. Given that Sheffield is most famous outside the city for steel and plate, for knifes and forks, for brewing and drinking (we often come up as the "Beer Capital" of Britain in the annual choice and diversity surveys) why not pick a building related to one of these industries currently lying fallow, save it from being made into studio flats and put the art project there? The William Stones brewery lies unused, downsized steel works are ten a penny and there is an added bonus with a number of old cutlery factories that they are next to the Cultural Industries Quarter.

One thing I would say to Tom is that his idea has to be compelling on its own merits, the National Centre for Popular Music showed that an uninteresting attraction won't get more visitors just because you have put it in an architecturally striking building.

Yours,
Tony Kennick

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