The demise of the Lysaghts Institute is representative of a culture of convenient neglect in that the City elders have allowed this piece of heritage to fade and die, to allow ultimately another monolith to consumerism to be built on the site.
The Institute survived a world war and has fundamental significance within the social history of Newport and there are many who relate stories of their involvement with this exceptional and elegant building. I have attempted in this project to convey the unique gaze into the pervasive melancholy that this neglect has produced. Vandalism and deterioration have been left unchecked and as is typical of Newport, the recognition of loss will only be apparent when it is too late. Here is a classic opportunity for Newport City Council to demonstrate their commitment to recycling on an architectural scale but choose to let it pass them by.
All around the city lies evidence of a worsening decay and ruin. Numerous distinctive buildings from Newport’s past have been demolished to make way for characterless concrete eyesores such as the bus station, with yet more in noticeable decline. The City Council pride themselves on redevelopment, restructure and recycling issues but totally ignore momentous structures that need little attention to restore them to all their former glory.
Newport is steeped in a history that dates back to Celtic settlements over two thousand years ago and has changed over time as often as the ebb and flow of the river it is built by. Whilst the new Riverfront Arts building was under construction, the footings revealed the remains of a mediaeval ship, which dated back to the late fifteenth century. Due to the possibility of a hold up of construction the find was almost covered with concrete and lost forever. If it was not for the protests of a group of locals, this significant historical maritime find, could have been lost forever. This trend is still continuing today and although some things do need to be changed and upgraded, a sensible decision needs to be made as to what stays and what needs leaving well alone. These ultimate choices will ensure the history and heritage lives on in our children.
This project gives one an insight into this unique building as it falls into disrepair and the people who have fond memories of its grandeur and community service over the eighty years since it was first built.