Thursday night saw us in East Durham College for Peterlee: The Power of the Vision, an artists’ talk and book launch. After picking up artists Jane and Louise Wilson from Durham Station, it was straight to the college to meet up withToby Paterson, make the final technical checks and get settled into our venue for the night, Lubetkin Theatre.
Berthold Lubetkin was originally commissioned to be the master planner and chief architect for Peterlee new town, but finding his vision facing dramatic changes due to red tape and regulations, he resigned from the role in 1949. At this time Victor Pasmore was teaching at nearby University of Durham and approached to fill the space left by Lubetkin. Pasmore decided to design the town around a central pavilion that combined architecture with art and would symbolise a new town with modern aspirations. This was named the Apollo Pavilion as a reference to the Apollo Space Programme.
Being honest, the Pavilion was not received well locally, yet despite everything it has survived graffiti, vandalism, and calls for it to be blown up, and now stands protected by its Grade II* listing following extensive restoration.
Which brings us back to Lubetkin Theatre, where artists Jane and Louise Wilson along with Toby Paterson have come to explain just what it is that they find so fascinating about about this concrete ode to modernism. They made a strong case, and a lively discussion led by Judith Winter followed as the audience shared their own opinions
The discussion continued into the foyer and the night ended with Toby Paterson being commissioned to produce a quick piece on a napkin between bites of his bacon sandwich!