What is Harrogate’s best modern building?

Copthall Tower (VR) Harrogate
Copthall Tower (VR) Harrogate

Two recently completed projects are among the entries coming in for a new architectural competition launched by Harrogate International Festival Fringe.

Harrogate Grammar School’s new sixth form block and the new Harrogate police station on Beckwith Head Road have both been nominated by the public.

The Best Modern Building in Harrogate competition will see Owen Hatherley, authour of Militant Modernism and renowned London-based architectural and cultural critic of The Guardian, coming to town to judge a shortlist picked from public nominations.

Other entries received so far include Harrogate International Centre which hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1982 not long after its completion, The Pyramid at Hornbeam Park, Royal Baths II Apartment Building, Montpellier Road, Beech Grove House, The Exchange building on Station Parade, formerly Copthall Tower and a striking private building completed recently at Rossett Drive off Leadhall Lane in Harrogate which was commissioned by Nick Wyatt, director of Ailsa3 Ventures Ltd.

Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser, programme coordinator for Harrogate International Festival Fringe, said: “As great as Bettys and the Turkish Baths are, Harrogate is part of the modern world, too, and I wanted this event to show that. More than any other of the arts, architecture is a public enterprise which impacts on all our lives in a very physical way.”

The announcement of the result on Saturday, July 7 at 7pm will take place at the launch of a companion exhibition at 108 Fine Art gallery at 1 Crown Place, Harrogate’s leading centre of modern and contemporary art.

Past Dreams of the Future aims to how that the ideas of Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus had an impact amid our tree-lined avenues.

Curated by Graham Chalmers with the support of Harrogate Civic Society and Acceleris, one of the region’s leading PR and Communications agencies, Past Dreams of the Future will present alternative visions for the town which never quite happened.

Graham said: “Not all of the plans for modern architecture have got past the planning stage in Harrogate but even the biggest failures have left traces. It says something when a writer of Owen Hatherley’s stature that he is coming here to see a side of the town not usually celebrated, not even by Harrogate itself.”

Graham said the exhibition would not have been possible without the support of Harrogate Civic Society, North Yorkshire County Council’s archive department and local historian Malcolm Neesam whose expertise had been invaluable.