A former art and design student who took classes at the threatened Island House was among protesters demanding the 100-year-old Birmingham building be saved from demolition.
Campaigners held placards and handed out leaflets on Wednesday at the Eastside building which is currently wrapped in scaffolding.
Protesters included members of the Victorian Society, Birmingham Friends of the Earth, Digbeth residents, Ray Egan aka John Bull and the council’s cabinet member for culture Martin Mullaney.
Owner Quintain Estates wants to pull down the three storey building and leave the space landscaped until the future of a proposed high-speed rail station is decided, and workers were filing in and out preparing it for demolition.
For Rob Sutton, from the Moorpool Estate in Harborne, Island House has personal memories as he studied there at Birmingham Polytechnic’s art and design centre.
He said: “This has survived German bombing during the war, it survived the students during the 1970s, but it seems unable to survive the demands of commercial interests. It is a gateway building and a beautiful part of the local landscape.”
The developer does have a legal agreement with the council to refurbish the building which it is seeking to overturn, and Mr Sutton urged the council’s lawyers to look into it properly and take action to keep the building.
Nicola Toms, from Acocks Green, said she joined the protest because she simply likes Island House.
“I used to walk past on my way to Matthew Boulton College. I always enjoyed looking at it,” she said.
Joe Holyoak, of The Victorian Society, urged people to write to the planning department objecting to Quintain’s attempt to over turn its legal obligation.
He said: “They are proposing to unnecessarily and unjustifiably demolish a locally listed building of architectural distinction.”
The company claims it is unable to let Island House or find a developer willing to invest because it might be in the way of the planned high-speed rail station and is left with no option but to demolish the building.