Shedland

You come across iconic and representational buildings, new and old, more often as you drive to the core of the city. Yet the city is more than icons. Office parks, industrial estates, housing quarters rich and poor frame the overall urban experience. Perhaps the most dispiriting areas are shedland. This is the visual experience of most places when you navigate the ring roads and dual carriageways that feed into the city: cheap, windowless, large buildings of steel frames, corrugated iron and pre-cast slabs. They are distribution hubs or light industrial sites. Their blandness neutralizes the surrounding landscape. They are lifeless. Occasionally a garish logo is the only visual relief. Built with a short shelf-life in mind, perhaps 10 or 20 years, they are part of the throwaway, disposable city. Can you imagine the artist of the mid-21st century suddenly deciding to move into these as the new live/work space as they have in the solid brick buildings of the industrial age? What new areas can artists discover when all the industrial buildings have been used up?

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