car park zine
Over the previous 20 years I have been inspired to find beauty in objects or buildings that other people find distasteful or ugly. One such building is the Raven Meadows Multi-Storey car park in Raven Meadows area of Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire.
This concrete multi-layered “monstrosity” was opened in November 1968 by the Late Robert Brown Esq. MP
Brown was the Joint Parliamentary Secretary To Her Majesty’s Minister Of Transport.
The main contractor according to the small metal plaque was Truscon Limited. A London based company also known as Trussed Concrete Steel Company.
It originally opened with nine levels of parking but another two were added in the 1980s during works to link it to new shopping centres.
I spent many an hour in and around the area amusing ourselves and the overbearing building was not a useful building to me as we always used the bus to get into town.
As I’ve grown up and begun to appreciate my surroundings and the impact they had on me as I aged from the infant to the adult I have come to realise that the car park has always been there and not changed a significant amount. The concrete structure remains grey and dirty with soot from vehicle exhausts whilst the interior remains a dark and shady place to move around.
A Degree Of Appreciation
During my degree studies at University Of Wolverhampton I concentrated much effort on the photographing of this building and used it in some submissions. My collection of images has grown since then, visiting the building in day and night, as well as in different weather conditions. I particularly appreciate the effect that dark wet evenings give the overall appearance of the location.
With recent news that a large development fund has been released by the government for the redevelopment of the Riverside and Raven Meadows area it appears that the car park has no place in the upcoming redesign so will likely be demolished to make way for leisure facilities, offices or even some residences. Keeping this in mind I felt that I wanted to share the beauty of the car park with like minded people and even those who have yet to see the inherent gorgeousness of this utilitarian structure that has been present for the last 55 years.
As a method of sharing I chose a zine format in A5 size containing 16 pages containing 18 images with two being double page spreads. It shows images I’ve made of the car park and surroundings using film and digital photography and even a drone image.
As part of my study of this car park for my degree studies I was inspired to compose a poem that reflected my understanding of the environment within the concrete structure.
Thirteen levels of grey,
Outlined by yellow strokes.
Limiting blocks of red and green,
Drivers glance but hardly see.
Intricate guides efficiently designed.
Barriers, fences, cones and walls,
Knit concrete walls to floor.
Numbers, arrows, verbose signs,
Immediately essential but soon forgotten.
Rain seeps downwards through floors,
Birthing puddles and driplets.
Argon, xenon, neon, krypton, and mercury,
Reflect in the liquid floor mirrors.
Shoppers in the warm light of day,
Miss the shadows, graffiti and urine of darkness.
Called simply “car park” it was published in 2023 and is available for sale in various locations, eBay and also by contacting me on email firstname.lastname@example.org
It is A5 portrait size, 16 pages, stapled, 170 gsm silk printed colour pages and cover is 250 gsm silk matt laminated. This 1st edition production run was 100 copies so pick up one of these before they disappear.
If you want it artist signed or a dedication please message with the details.
The super bargain price for this carefully considered and curated zine is £3.00 + postage.