In a joint project by The Independent and British Airways’ inflight magazine, High Life, Coventry Cathedral has been voted third in a list of 21 British landmarks for the 21st century.
As an article in The Independent explains, ‘In third place is perhaps the surprise of the entire project: arguably the definitive post-war landmark. Coventry Cathedral was almost completely destroyed by intense Nazi bombing in 1940, and a decade later a competition was launched to rebuild it. The winner, Sir Basil Spence, insisted that the ruins should be left as a garden of remembrance and his elegantly simple design is wonderfully augmented by art, including a vast tapestry by Graham Sutherland and a sculpture by Sir Jacob Epstein decorating the exterior.
“I was born and raised in Northampton,” said architect Will Alsop, who championed the cathedral. “I remember my parents saying that when Coventry was bombed in the war, you could see it from Northampton. I think what Basil Spence has achieved is a marvellous example of integration between art and architecture.”’
John Witcombe, Dean of Coventry, said: “In the UK we don’t always appreciate the importance of contemporary buildings as our built ‘heritage’ and so to be recognised as a landmark for the 21st century is wonderful and recognises the role that we play in Coventry and the wider UK, as well as our role as a place of reconciliation.”