John Player Horizon Factory demolition, 2019 :: Shared Description

John Player Horizon Factory demolition, 2019

The factory was an iconic piece of mid 20th century industrial design from one of the pioneering multi-disciplinary practices, bringing together architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and other specialists designing together from first principles. This was Arup Associates, founded by the engineers Ove Arup, Ronald Hobbs and Derek Sugden, and the architect Philip Dowson. For Horizon building contractors Bovis were an integral part of the design team from the first. Construction was in 1968-71, production commencing in January 1972.

A key element of the building was the modular construction based on square bays with columns 100 feet (c.30 metres) apart supporting deep girders with diagonal bracing. The views during demolition show how this was made a feature of both the internal layout and the external appearance. The internal roof space created allowed for an extensive ventilation system the tobacco dust retrieved could be offset against tax payments! - with the result that the pervasive tobacco smell across the city was not apparent inside the building.

Externally, the concrete panels were typical of the period, being finished with a ribbed surface chipped off to provide a distinctive texture. The large plain panels of the main manufacturing areas were off-set by the supporting columns and the regular placement of exterior emergency staircases, with the panels in the south west corner being pierced for the windows of the main office section.

The building won the Financial Times award for industrial architecture in 1973, as well as awards from the Royal Institute of British Architecture and the Civic Trust.

When it became clear that production on the site was to cease, attempts were made to have the building listed, but these were unsuccessful. The building has suffered in the public view from being a) in the brutalist style and b) an industrial building (and therefore intrinsically ugly), so has been generally derided. There is no doubt in my mind that the industrial development that is set to replace it will be less visually interesting probably largely big sheds with unalleviated sheet cladding.

For some other interesting comments, see the Twentieth Century Society page LinkExternal link and People at Players LinkExternal link
by Alan Murray-Rust
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SK5537 : Lost Horizons  13 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  5 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  2 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  6 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  3 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  11 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  4 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  1 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  7 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  9 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  8 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  14 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : A disappearing horizon by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  12 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK5537 : Lost Horizons  10 by Alan Murray-Rust


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Created: Wed, 27 Mar 2019, Updated: Wed, 27 Mar 2019

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