What happens to functionalist architecture when it ceases to function?
It ceases to function.
Standing on the A6 in the centre of the town, once home to a warren of postal workers, sorting mail in preparation for the two delivery a day walks. This was a communications hub before they even thought of communications hubs.
The office stands empty, inside the paint slowly peels.
Following changes in working practices the posties now sort their own round, for a single daily delivery. The process has become mechanised, requiring new technologies and an appropriate anonymous architecture, on the edge of town.
The building however, continues to reflect a 70s optimism, monumental – fading, as optimism is apt to do.
An exciting composition of curved tiled volumes and boxy glass and steel modernism, in a delightfully battered brown and cream. Now in the ownership of the Greater Manchester Pension fund, its future would seem, to say the least, uncertain. This whole Grand Central site clustered around the railway station has been subject to a series of speculative leisure developments. As in other locations they seem to fade, just as quickly as the boarded hoardings, shrouded in designers’ digital piazza visualisations.
So we stand and stare at each other lovingly, our heads in a cloud of municipal stasis.
Inside nothing moves.