The Skylon from the Festival of Britain in 1951, designed by architect Powell and Moya, remains to this day an icon of progressive design, technological brilliance and engineering efficiency. There are plans to rebuild it and locate it in an assortment of places like the Olympic Park or the Battersea Power Station site, but there is no question that it should go home to its original site on the South Bank next to Jubilee Gardens where, I understand, the foundations still exist.
Peter Murray, Chairman, Wordsearch
I’d resurrect the UK’s rail infrastructure. The 1963 Beeching Report proposed improvements, investment and alternatives to our underused rail network. Instead, each successive Government used it as a charter for cuts and closures. With hindsight, we can see that those short-term savings have cost us dearly: isolated communities, massive road-building programmes, poor freight links, pollution and inefficient use of natural resources. Let’s renationalise, reinvest, rebuild and reopen the railways.
Michael Smith, Director, Cog Design
My secondary school was quite controversial in its day, with no uniform, and calling teachers by their first names – Channel 4 even made a documentary about it. It was where I took my first steps into the world of art and design – and the place where so many other things that make me who I am happened. It was demolished a few years ago for one of those modern housing estates, and it’s a bit sad to think that the place that inspired me so much is probably someone’s toilet now.
Benjamin Hostler, Creative director, Beef
I’d bring back Crystal Palace and the Great Exhibition of 1851. In these recessionary times, it would be lovely to share some optimism by celebrating the best-in-class products and inventions being made today. We could even reintroduce such things as exhibition winners’ medals. If you look closely, you can still see the old ones on beer labels such as those on Stella Artois bottles. On a more selfish note, this stunning building would look great again in my local park.
Piers Guilar, Group director, strategy, Siegel & Gale