A GROUP of students made a 140-mile pilgrimage to a controversial landmark after dubbing it a “beautifully brutal modernist masterpiece”.
Around 25 students and lecturers from Edinburgh’s Telford College visited Pasmore’s Apollo Pavilion, in Peterlee.
The concrete structure, which has divided opinion since it was installed in the late 1960s, caught the eye of the group, which is studying architectural “follies”.
David Taylor-Gooby, chairman of the Apollo Pavilion Community Association (APCA), said: “The group heard about the pavilion through our website and this was the second time they have visited.
“They are studying apparent architectural follies, things that don’t seem to have a practical purpose.
“They are also looking at Penshaw Monument in Sunderland and I suggested the Angel of the North to them.”
Mr Taylor-Gooby added: “I feel very pleased that interest has come from the group.
“I think we should be proud of the pavilion and celebrate it – if other people want to come and look at it, then that’s a good thing.
“The group is looking at the pavilion in the same category as the Angel of the North and Penshaw Monument and they are iconic landmarks.
“We look at a folly as something that doesn’t have any practical purpose, but I suppose the pavilion does enhance the neighbourhood and Peterlee would be very drab without it.”
Alan Holligan, lecturer of creative arts at the Edinburgh-based college, thanked Mr Taylor-Gooby and fellow APCA member Jake Cameron for showing the group around the structure.
He said: “This is our second visit in what we hope will become something of an annual pilgrimage to Peterlee’s beautifully brutal modernist masterpiece, Pasmore’s Apollo Pavilion.
“The pavilion is a rare and genuine one-off and we are delighted to have the opportunity to research and respond to the work.
“The students will be gathering visual and contextual research at the site of the pavilion and the neo-classical Penshaw Monument and then responding to both work with personal and contemporary interpretations of the idea of architectural folly.”
The APCA is waiting to hear whether the pavilion has gained listed status, as previously reported by the Hartlepool Mail.
An announcement is expected shortly.