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Report - Central Services Building, Huddersfield - December 2013

Discussion in 'High Stuff' started by tweek, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. tweek

    tweek Huddersfield Tourist Information Board
    Regular User

    Jun 14, 2011
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    Central Services Building, Huddersfield - December 2013


    I had tried this a long time ago with Fudge, but after having a decent laugh pottering about inside the building, we were ultimately unsuccessful. Recently, the construction of a new Sports Hall next door at the University had put this one back on the agenda, but after skulking around on top of that building, trying to make it over to the main block proved harder than I’d imagined on that night. Over the following weeks, scaffolding started to rise to the top of the tower, seemingly taking an age to reach the top. Eventually it did, and even longer after that, I finally decided to get up there before the opportunity went begging.


    The University of Huddersfield’s Central Services Building was designed by the Manchester firm Hugh R. Wilson and Lewis Womersley and constructed between 1972-77. The building, clad in light buff coloured brick, was constructed at a cost of £3.6 million.

    The geography of Huddersfield often requires buildings to be built to accommodate steep gradients, so the Central Services Building appears modest in size when approached from the town centre, but gargantuan from the canalside. Much derided as a Brutalist eyesore by locals, the tower is undoubtedly a recognisable landmark of Huddersfield, with the proclamation ‘University’ proudly emblazoned in bold lettering on all sides at its pinnacle.



    The people of Huddersfield are generally quite ‘matter-of-fact’ about their opinions, and are unlikely to share my view that this is arguably one of the more successful modern buildings in the town. The light brown bricks are aesthetically suited to the town’s ashlar sandstone, and by building into the hillside, the stepped, clustered design of the block, helps conceal the considerable volume of this building well in my opinion. An undercover concourse cleverly cuts through the building, further reducing the building’s impact on the landscape by maintaining a pedestrian connection with the town and the canal. Huddersfield like most towns and cities in the 60s and 70s, acquired multi-story blocks, but the town did well to limit the number of these, as well as the visual impact they had on the town. In that sense, the Central Services Building is probably the best hulk of Brutalism the town could’ve hoped for as it’s the most-recognisable, modernist tower.




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    :Not Worthy

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