Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Odeon/Fiesta/Top Rank/02 Academy complex, Pond Street.

Odeon complex, Sheffield, Pond Street, Bus station
Photo by Nigel Chadwick [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Here it is, my nomination for the worst building ever erected in the entire history of Sheffield.

For some reason, in the 1960s, someone decided it'd be a great idea to build a huge concrete cliff on Pond/Flat Street to cut the bus and railway stations off from the city centre - and then to cover it with what seemed to be tiles stolen from a public lavatory. The only way to navigate through the complex was through narrow, spiralling stairwells or via cramped escalators that never seemed to work - all imbued with a sense of menace that grew with every step you took. Once you actually reached the top of the complex, you then had to navigate disturbing underpasses to actually escape it and reach the city centre.

Just to make it even more user-friendly, the site incorporated a porn cinema and lots multi-storey parking.

Just over twenty years ago, the complex became even more isolating when the council decided to get rid of the escalators that connected it to the bus station, meaning you couldn't even properly access the row of shops in its mid sections, thus sealing their doom and leaving a great chunk of it derelict. It's genius like that that wins councils awards.

Photos of the site before it was built really are some of the most baffling things I've ever seen, with strange and random buildings dotted around on a rather wild hill. Were they houses? Were they industrial buildings? I really have no idea but, for the sheer strangeness of it all, I really do wish they'd been allowed to stand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our grandmother once saved a girl from being raped in this delightful edifice. You will probably have forgotten that but our dad was furious with her as two men were involved. Never entered her head not to do something. She had many faults but the lack of courage was never one of them.

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