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  • "They did a good job of the school in Totton but they civic centre 'art quarter' is hardly anything special before the mutual appreciation society old boys club start slapping one another on the back.

    Southampton is a cruise liner terminal to the envy of most other effective & competent city councils, an excess of maritime history & an abundance of medieval ruins combined with fairly decent shopping (still crap for eating out unless you like overpriced middle of the road restaurants) so it's a crying shame how town planners have done little to enhance & properly design a city for the future. Wasted opportunities.

    Southampton is a city waiting for something to happen but with the red tape, questionable & hypocritical planning decisions, the bureaucracy & total lack of support to the arts (look up the cost of a street performers license in So'ton & you'll realise why there aren't any....Gantry anyone?), it's no wonder so many have had enough & moved elsewhere.

    The 100th anniversary of the Totanic celebrations put us on the map though. We spray painted a park!! Wow! Incredible. Probably the same genius whose idea to rival the Spinaker tower was to fire laser beams from the civic centre clock.

    With that type of creative luminaire, no wonder our prosperity has been somewhat stuck in the mud.

    Still, dish out some meaningful award & pretend we are a city going places. Sadly, going backwards if all we do I'd shut down the old popular & lively zones like Los Marinos & marina venues & the joke which once was Ocean Village....Sad to say Pompey council have done a far better job & I'm definitely no fan of that area but credit where it is due. Their council have a modicum more common sense than ours, it seems.

    Still, we could always build some more flats for council tax or another cinema!! ;o)

    Sorry to be so negative but I don't think I could mess up the infrastructure of a city with so much potential if I tried so the back slapping article is pretty rich if you ask me. Design something meaningful & with a touch of glass & I'll withhold judgement in future but our track record ain't great!"
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SeaCity and Forest Park Primary School buildings scoop design awards

First published in Hampshire Business Andover Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Politics and business reporter

TWO BUILDINGS have scooped the top awards in the search for the best designed building in the Solent area.

The city’s £15m Titanic themed SeaCity museum and a special needs school in Totton were the big winners at the 2012 Solent Design Awards.

The awards seek to recognise the stunning buildings, places or spaces across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight which inspire the community in a recession. An expert judging panel was put together of top architects and academics.

A “people’s poll” award went to the SeaCity Museum which has transformed Southampton’s former Grade II listed magistrates’ court into exhibition spaces alongside a striking new wing to the Civic Centre.

The judges praised the ambition to create a strong relationship to the west side of the Civic Centre complex, the way in which the museum re-uses the old court spaces well, and the “confidence” to create a 21st-century design within a listed building.

Paul Grover, of the University of Portsmouth, which managed the awards, said: “The public’s view is as important as the professionals’ as they are the people who have to live with the design and can really attest to its true value.”

Forest Park Primary School, is custom- built for children with a range of complex learning difficulties designed by Hampshire County Council architects, won the overall award.

One of the judges, Bryan Avery, from Avery Architects, praised the design of a “highly specialised environment”, that avoided any “institutional feel”.

“The architects are to be congratulated on creating a wonderful and uplifting school where architecture and landscaping coalesce beautifully.

“It is a terrific resolution of a complex brief where the attention to detail has been superb,” he said.

The awards, sponsored by construction group Bouygues UK, the Barker Mills Foundation, the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) and the University of Portsmouth, were held at Portsmouth Guildhall.

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