Minister exploring 'outstanding architecture' in Jersey

Senator Freddie Cohen is the man who makes the final decision over development and demolition of buildings in Jersey, and those decisions often divide opinion.

His choice to save the Odeon cinema in Bath Street from demolition was one that divided opinion more than others.

With recent changes to his department, including a change of name, staff cuts and fewer developments requiring planning permission, his focus will be on significant developments.

Senator Cohen saved the Odeon building because of its architectural merit, despite threats from developers to leave the building empty.

He said he would consider allowing demolition if it was to be replaced with a building that was an example of outstanding architecture.

But, like beauty, architectural merit is in the eye of the beholder, one person's example of perfect design is another's carbuncle cup winner.

BBC Jersey asked Senator Cohen to explain what he meant by "outstanding architecture" and share the buildings that inspire him.

'Beautifully put together'

His first suggestion was one of the most recent buildings to be completed in the island, the Ogier building on the Esplanade.

The building has six floors and was built as the largest single occupancy commercial building in Jersey.

It is big enough for 600 staff under one roof and is a tall building with lots of windows at the front.

Senator Cohen said: "This is a really good example of an office building by a local architect, it was by Mike Waddington.

"A simple modern design, beautifully articulated and incorporates local stone in that it has elements of granite in it.

"It uses large elements of heavily insulated glazing pains and is a composition that is inoffensive to anyone viewing the building.

"It is very elegant and beautifully put together."

Another modern development Senator Cohen likes is 50 Colomberie, a modern art deco style building on the corner of Colomberie and Green Street in St Helier.

He said: "This is one of my favourite modern buildings, it is a wonderful composition because it encompass forms that are very familiar to us."

The building features two art panels by Michael Sandel, a memorial sculptor from England.

Senator Cohen said: "The effect is spectacular because the panels have been positioned so they reflect the sunlight that shines down Colomberie."

He said it was a great building as, as well as being a modern build, it was reflective of the work of the 1930s based Jersey architect, Arthur Grayson.

"For most of the central areas of town I think the 50 Columberie building is the model we should be following," he said

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites