Published  21/07/2012

The public Alsop

The public Alsop

Architect Will Alsop, so-called 'maverick' architect of the revival of fun, has, in his role as magician, created a jewel-like catalytic building for West Bromwich in the English Midlands called 'The Public'. Here is a city in need of strong motivation for urgent regeneration. The Public has, however, still to present a viable actual use. But that shouldn't be too hard, following the example of Alsop's Peckham Library in South London, which has developed a multifunctional range of facilities and spaces as user attractions, while still fulfilling the basic bibliophilic demand, as libraries must. Alsop, also a significant painter as well as an architect Royal Academician in his own right, is the perfect person to ensure that The Public brings some fun, and attracts community and corporate support. Whatever emerges will, of course, take time to bed down. But nonetheless, of the £600 million of investment that West Bromwich has attracted since The Public project began, a substantially high proportion of the sum can be attributed to a new confidence that Will Alsop has created via the new sparkle; a special identity that The Public endows, which is not just the flash of the magician's wand.

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