At the dawn of February 2012 I wasn’t aware of the Island House in Birmingham. It was brought to my attention, firstly via the Birmingham Viewpoint website (as the subject for February) and then via the Digbeth is Good website. I went early in the month to try and get a picture for my submission to the Birmingham Viewpoint project and this is what I took on 7th February 2012.
Within days of taking this shot, the building became shrouded in scaffolding and screens, and by the end of the month it was gone! All the protests, all the demonstrations…all had fallen on deaf ears and the building was no more.
So, one year on, I thought I’d go back and see what had been built in place of the Island House. Obviously, the developers must have had great plans as they were so determined to knock it down and include it in the Hotel La Tour development…or maybe not…this is what I discovered last week when I returned.
Nothing! Twelve months on and the land previously occupied by the Island House is completely bare and surrounded by advertising boards. So what was the point of knocking it down so quickly? Wouldn’t it have been better for all to have redeveloped the original building? The Hotel La Tour has triangular aspects and the Island House would’ve fitted in quite sympathetically, but no, the developer knows best…seemingly it is better to destroy than to create!
How can these people get away with this? More to the point how do WE let them get away with it? Of course, no laws were broken, but that doesn’t necessarily make it right. Who are the faceless people that make these decisions? We’ll never know and it is too late for the Island House, but what about the next time?