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Old October 4th, 2006, 12:07 PM   #1
City on The Water
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Angry Lack of Strategy For City's Future

From the Daily Post. I like the piece by Sebos mate on the committee. Huge swathes of water space have disappered because of no direction.

>>>>>
AS ARCHITECTS draw up plans for a new Liverpool skyline, many question whether there is an overall strategy for the city’s waterfront.

Last month, the Daily Post revealed designs for an £80m, 36-storey skyscraper had been criticised in a review by a government body.

It criticised the tower planned for Princes Dock, which the Commission for Architect- ure and the Built Environment (CABE) said lacked quality and appeared “joyless”.

More worrying were the concerns the review high-lighted over the quality of the building itself – set to be Liverpool’s tallest building.

While architects draw up plans for modern towers of glass that will change Merseyside’s waterfront, there are question marks over what we will be left with once it is all finished.


Modern-looking designs have been rejected by traditionalists who feel it would blight the position of buildings already treasured by Liverpudlians.

To further the debate, the Daily Post asked leading architects and experts their views on where the water- front should go from here.

Jim Gill, Chief Executive, Liverpool Vision:

Refurbishment started on the Albert Dock 22 years ago, and it has stayed in splendid isolation.

If you look at it on its own, it is a wonderful restoration but I think it has failed as part of a broader regeneration package because nothing has happened around it.

The waterfront offers a huge opportunity for Liverpool as it is a wonderful location and what you’ve got is a national museum and car park. the majority of which isn’t even open to the public and is pretty scruffy- looking.

The Pier Head itself is mostly empty. You can’t go down to there and think “what a pleasant place to spend an evening”. We want to give people a reason to cross The Strand. If nothing is done, Liverpool’s waterfront would be a hugely under- exploited resource for the city.

Jonathan Brown, Merseyside Civic Society:

Seven miles of waterfront puts Liverpool on a par with world cities like Nice, Sydney or downtown Manhattan. At present we have still to develop sufficient civic vision to understand what that means in planning terms.

For instance, the Albert Dock’s water space is actually bigger than Trafalgar Square in London – stretching in each direction we are blessed with an exten-sive series of magnificent historic “water-squares”, unique in all the world. Magnificent because their setting overlooks the mighty Mersey, with the great metropolis of Liverpool rising up behind.

This legacy in stone is a gift from the past that our friends in other cities would die for. So, what have we spent the last two decades doing with those “water squares”, whose heritage is acknowledged as of “univer-sal human significance” by the United Nations? What lessons have we learned since central government stepped in and saved the Albert Dock from demolition?

It is painful to say that we have spent much of that time filling many of the old docks in for car parking and “anytown” development, and allowed the rise of an exclusive, suburban-scale “apartmentopolis” of flats, forecourts for car dealerships and fast-food restaurants. The latest example of this lack of stewardship is the abominable multi-storey car park just up from the Liver Buildings on the Princes dock – an absolute eyesore, and the foolhardy proposals to fill in the Georgian Waterloo Dock.

The increasing outcry shows united concern at potential damage to what is not just one of Liverpool’s but the world’s prize heritage assets. We urgently need an ambitious and above all imaginative review of the riverfront’s potential.

Maggie Mullan, architect at Austin-Smith Lord, and past president of Liverpool Architecture Society:

I think, in general, the proposals for the waterfront are very positive.

What we really do need to do is build on the confidence of the city with the people procuring these projects listening to the public’s preferences.

Where the tall buildings are concerned, we need to look closely at how the city manifests itself and where the clusters will be.

The World Heritage Status is positive but you’ve got to consider what the long-term development will be for Liverpool as a 21st-century city.

The buildings are not Roman remains and it’s important to remember, if it hadn’t been for pioneering developers, the Three Graces would not be here today.

Susan Hanley-Place MBE, Chief Executive, The Mersey Heritage Trust:

People use “modernism” and “iconic” when talking about depersonalised designs. Modernist architec-ture was a style of the 1930s which rejects the whole idea of community and human perspective in favour of what architects think we should be looking at.

In the 1950s and 1960s, there was the hypothesis that in the future we would be living in huge towering impersonal buildings, and if you look at architecture that was inspired and built in that time, a lot of it has been knocked down.

We should be able to distinguish between something that is modern for the sake of being modern and something that takes into account every- thing that has happened in the past. Why would we want to live in a world of buildings with great impersonal vistas so we can look up at towering glass and concrete?

Building modern towers on the Pier Head alongside the Liver Building and Cunard Building would be like mixing chalk and cheese and would destroy the scale of the site.

Why do people feel that it’s necessary to create a New York-style sky line?

In Liverpool we risk build-ing an impersonal environment. It may be futuristic but it isn’t progress.

Dominic Wilkinson, North West Chairman of the Royal Institute of British Architects:

What people don’t think about is how places like the Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool Buildings actually treated their historic context.

A lot of the buildings we look at today knocked down buildings to build new ones so we need to protect our heritage but not be too rev-erential towards it. I’m not suggesting that we knock down the Three Graces, but just to look at how new buildings can work with them.

There are a lot of interesting and iconic buildings planned for the waterfront as you would expect and I think they will establish interesting relationships between the new and the old.

I think the World Heritage Status can be a positive or a negative thing.

It will be positive if Unesco embrace the need for change, but we need to make sure that limits don’t prevent the regeneration that is so vital for Liverpool.

I think new buildings and tall buildings enliven the skyline of a city.

Looking back in history, the 19th-century Liverpool skyline was radically different to the 20th century.

And there’s no reason why the 21st century can’t be different again.

Walter Menzies, chief executive of the Mersey Basin Campaign, who is an architect by training:

Mediocrity is the last refuge of the uninspired and this is no time for Liverpool to be mediocre or uninspired. What happens on the city’s waterfront in the next few years will define it for generations to come. It will go a long way towards deciding whether Liverpool really does take its place alongside Europe’s elite cities in terms of prosperity, reputation and influence.

Liverpool has a superb architectural heritage that must inspire its future. Its Victorian buildings were at the cutting edge of design for their time, and we must recapture that spirit of confidence and adventure.

Liverpool’s waterfront is its trump card. Few cities can match its scale and grandeur. Quality, awe-inspiring archit-ecture on the waterfront is what’s needed.

kate.mansey@liverpool.com
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Old October 4th, 2006, 09:20 PM   #2
Tony Sebo
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Aye J, but this one by Dominic W ilkinson was by far the most pertinent

"Looking back in history, the 19th-century Liverpool skyline was radically different to the 20th century, and there’s no reason why the 21st century can’t be different again."
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Old October 4th, 2006, 09:26 PM   #3
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Jim Gill, Chief Executive, Liverpool Vision:

Refurbishment started on the Albert Dock 22 years ago, and it has stayed in splendid isolation.

If you look at it on its own, it is a wonderful restoration but I think it has failed as part of a broader regeneration package because nothing has happened around it.

The waterfront offers a huge opportunity for Liverpool as it is a wonderful location and what you’ve got is a national museum and car park. the majority of which isn’t even open to the public and is pretty scruffy- looking.

The Pier Head itself is mostly empty. You can’t go down to there and think “what a pleasant place to spend an evening”. We want to give people a reason to cross The Strand. If nothing is done, Liverpool’s waterfront would be a hugely under- exploited resource for the city.
Odd quote from Jim Gill of Vision. Either he is wrongly attributed or the quote comes out of the archives. I think that what he is doing here is making an argument for Vision's Kings Waterfront Development, which is now well underway and the scruffy car park is mainly history.

Quote:
Jonathan Brown, Merseyside Civic Society:

Seven miles of waterfront puts Liverpool on a par with world cities like Nice, Sydney or downtown Manhattan. At present we have still to develop sufficient civic vision to understand what that means in planning terms.

For instance, the Albert Dock’s water space is actually bigger than Trafalgar Square in London – stretching in each direction we are blessed with an exten-sive series of magnificent historic “water-squares”, unique in all the world. Magnificent because their setting overlooks the mighty Mersey, with the great metropolis of Liverpool rising up behind.

This legacy in stone is a gift from the past that our friends in other cities would die for. So, what have we spent the last two decades doing with those “water squares”, whose heritage is acknowledged as of “univer-sal human significance” by the United Nations? What lessons have we learned since central government stepped in and saved the Albert Dock from demolition?

It is painful to say that we have spent much of that time filling many of the old docks in for car parking and “anytown” development, and allowed the rise of an exclusive, suburban-scale “apartmentopolis” of flats, forecourts for car dealerships and fast-food restaurants. The latest example of this lack of stewardship is the abominable multi-storey car park just up from the Liver Buildings on the Princes dock – an absolute eyesore, and the foolhardy proposals to fill in the Georgian Waterloo Dock.

The increasing outcry shows united concern at potential damage to what is not just one of Liverpool’s but the world’s prize heritage assets. We urgently need an ambitious and above all imaginative review of the riverfront’s potential.
I think everybody will agree with that although there would be disagreement about what is appropriate development. People have very short memories and only ten years ago, the five storey office blocks on Princes Dock were considered a great leap forward in an area that had been derelict for so long. If we now think that we could do a lot better on that site then that shows that we have come some way since then.

I don't agree that the Princes Dock multi-storey car park is an eyesore. It is a car park and people are bound to access these areas by car - so what do you do? Put it underground? Extremely expensive in an area with a high water table. Put it at ground level? Then huge areas of land are given over to car parking. Multi-storey car parks are not renowned for their architectural splendour, this one at least has made some effort to fit in with its environment.

Quote:
Maggie Mullan, architect at Austin-Smith Lord, and past president of Liverpool Architecture Society:

I think, in general, the proposals for the waterfront are very positive.

What we really do need to do is build on the confidence of the city with the people procuring these projects listening to the public’s preferences.

Where the tall buildings are concerned, we need to look closely at how the city manifests itself and where the clusters will be.

The World Heritage Status is positive but you’ve got to consider what the long-term development will be for Liverpool as a 21st-century city.

The buildings are not Roman remains and it’s important to remember, if it hadn’t been for pioneering developers, the Three Graces would not be here today.

Exactly, as the city gains more confidence, the greater buildings it can build and the greater its architectural impact.

Quote:
Susan Hanley-Place MBE, Chief Executive, The Mersey Heritage Trust:

People use “modernism” and “iconic” when talking about depersonalised designs. Modernist architec-ture was a style of the 1930s which rejects the whole idea of community and human perspective in favour of what architects think we should be looking at.

In the 1950s and 1960s, there was the hypothesis that in the future we would be living in huge towering impersonal buildings, and if you look at architecture that was inspired and built in that time, a lot of it has been knocked down.

We should be able to distinguish between something that is modern for the sake of being modern and something that takes into account every- thing that has happened in the past. Why would we want to live in a world of buildings with great impersonal vistas so we can look up at towering glass and concrete?

Building modern towers on the Pier Head alongside the Liver Building and Cunard Building would be like mixing chalk and cheese and would destroy the scale of the site.

Why do people feel that it’s necessary to create a New York-style sky line?

In Liverpool we risk build-ing an impersonal environment. It may be futuristic but it isn’t progress.
Why not look at New York? The Empire State, Chrysler, Woolworth and Flat-Iron Buildings and newer structures such as the New York Times tower or the Hearst Tower are huge structures but not impersonal. They contribute to the streetscape and dramatise the skyline.

This lady is forgetting that the Liver Building was based on a Chicago skyscraper that was once the world's tallest office building. It has no respect for the scale of its neighbouring buildings.

Quote:
Dominic Wilkinson, North West Chairman of the Royal Institute of British Architects:

What people don’t think about is how places like the Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool Buildings actually treated their historic context.

A lot of the buildings we look at today knocked down buildings to build new ones so we need to protect our heritage but not be too rev-erential towards it. I’m not suggesting that we knock down the Three Graces, but just to look at how new buildings can work with them.

There are a lot of interesting and iconic buildings planned for the waterfront as you would expect and I think they will establish interesting relationships between the new and the old.

I think the World Heritage Status can be a positive or a negative thing.

It will be positive if Unesco embrace the need for change, but we need to make sure that limits don’t prevent the regeneration that is so vital for Liverpool.

I think new buildings and tall buildings enliven the skyline of a city.

Looking back in history, the 19th-century Liverpool skyline was radically different to the 20th century.

And there’s no reason why the 21st century can’t be different again.
Quote:
Walter Menzies, chief executive of the Mersey Basin Campaign, who is an architect by training:

Mediocrity is the last refuge of the uninspired and this is no time for Liverpool to be mediocre or uninspired. What happens on the city’s waterfront in the next few years will define it for generations to come. It will go a long way towards deciding whether Liverpool really does take its place alongside Europe’s elite cities in terms of prosperity, reputation and influence.

Liverpool has a superb architectural heritage that must inspire its future. Its Victorian buildings were at the cutting edge of design for their time, and we must recapture that spirit of confidence and adventure.

Liverpool’s waterfront is its trump card. Few cities can match its scale and grandeur. Quality, awe-inspiring archit-ecture on the waterfront is what’s needed.
Can't argue with these two. Rebuilding the city can't be about being over-reverential to the past. What gives cities their dynamism is this dialogue between the old and new.

So many people have such firm opinions about any new building proposal that is slightly out of the ordinary. Look at all the criticism about the Fourth Grace or the Museum of Liverpool.

However, when cities do take the chance and build some architecturally avant garde building, they seldom regret it. Does Bilbao regret the Guggenheim, Sydney the Opera House or Liverpool the Metropolitan Cathedral?
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Old October 4th, 2006, 09:34 PM   #4
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Different isn't good enough.

BETTER is what is required. Things never become better by chance. They have to be worked at and sustained through more hard work. This fingers crossed, muddling through, approach will all end in tears. We need to have a debate as a city about these issues. It might regalvanise interest in the political process. Politics matter.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 10:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Liverpool8 View Post
Different isn't good enough.

BETTER is what is required. Things never become better by chance. They have to be worked at and sustained through more hard work. This fingers crossed, muddling through, approach will all end in tears. We need to have a debate as a city about these issues. It might regalvanise interest in the political process. Politics matter.
Yes but L8 what have we been doing on this site for the last four years? What about all the debate in the Post and Echo? the fuss over the Brunswick Quay Tower? World Heritage Site? the Museum of Liverpool, Derelict Buildings etc etc.

Liverpool is a city that is passionate about its architecture, waterfront, docks etc. We obviously often disagree but thats only natural.

The trouble about saying new architecture has to be better is that it is very difficult to say what is better and what isn't. Obviously when we see something obviously cheap and nasty like the Brunswick Travelodge or the Halifax on the Strand, there is not going to be much disagreement. With other things, such as the Fourth Grace or the Mann Island development there is never going to be a consensus.

Even when buildings aren't 'different', we are still going to have disagreement. I like those new towers proposed for Kings Waterfront but they are hardly 'different' However, I think they have style and quality, which will come out when we see them actually go up but I'd be the first to admit that they aren't going to sell many picture postcards.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 10:09 PM   #6
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This lady is forgetting that the Liver Building was based on a Chicago skyscraper that was once the world's tallest office building.
The Liver Building is about 50 times taller than me, it's not something on a personal scale. I feel overwhelmed by the size of the Anglican Cathedral but it's not a bad thing, in fact I love that we are able build things so big. Would the Liver Building and Anglican be as impressive if the were on a more human scale, say 30ft tall?
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Old October 4th, 2006, 10:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Martin S View Post
Yes but L8 what have we been doing on this site for the last four years? What about all the debate in the Post and Echo? the fuss over the Brunswick Quay Tower? World Heritage Site? the Museum of Liverpool, Derelict Buildings etc etc.

Liverpool is a city that is passionate about its architecture, waterfront, docks etc. We obviously often disagree but thats only natural.

The trouble about saying new architecture has to be better is that it is very difficult to say what is better and what isn't. Obviously when we see something obviously cheap and nasty like the Brunswick Travelodge or the Halifax on the Strand, there is not going to be much disagreement. With other things, such as the Fourth Grace or the Mann Island development there is never going to be a consensus.

Even when buildings aren't 'different', we are still going to have disagreement. I like those new towers proposed for Kings Waterfront but they are hardly 'different' However, I think they have style and quality, which will come out when we see them actually go up but I'd be the first to admit that they aren't going to sell many picture postcards.
The fact that we can determine that a travellodge/Ibis etc is cheap and nasty is because we are applying aesthetic criteria to formulate a judgement. By the same token, buildings in high profile locations in the city need to be scrutinised according to the extent to which they add to the existing area. This is, of course, an area where there will be disagreement and that's fine because hopefully this will serve the function of encouraging people to think through and defend their arguments for or against a particular building. You say, for example, that the buildings on Kings Dock have style and quality. Could you unpack this a bit further? What kind of style? How are we to recognise their quality?
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Old October 4th, 2006, 10:30 PM   #8
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That is exactly my point, we cannot determine what is 'appropriate' on such a broad 'canvas' as the urban skyline. Quality can be subjective, but there are some obvious links between cost/type of materials, architect or design build used, return on investment etc that can be used as a measurre as to whether the developer is offering 'quality' or is taking the pisss.

As I have also said many times, me or thee, martin, cabe or lady dee cannot be allowed to compose what should rightly be a incongruous compilation of hundreds of individual decisions, wallets and 'tastes'.. you get lots of good buildings when there are lots of fortunes being made and there to tap (6* hotels etc)... and good public buildings when those in charge of civic life have guts and confidence!

Forget any notions of skyline composition... it is the only way to ensure that we may arrive with one.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tony Sebo View Post
Aye J, but this one by Dominic W ilkinson was by far the most pertinent

"Looking back in history, the 19th-century Liverpool skyline was radically different to the 20th century, and there’s no reason why the 21st century can’t be different again."
There is a reason. It is now a World Heritage Site. The skyline will change, however not where you think it should.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 10:45 PM   #10
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That not only should it be allowed to change, but that change should be welcomed and celebrated is precicely my plea!
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Old October 4th, 2006, 10:47 PM   #11
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If you think about examples in the city where a mindfulness to context is demonstrated (The 3 graces - I cringe using this term, William Brown Street, Lime Street (pre SJP), the Commercial quarter (pre 2WW bombs), the 'Georgian' quarter -I'm hating this way of describing the city a la Liverpool Vision, planning that takes a wider vision re how the finished product should look clearly works. Paris' skyline works in a way that London's doesn't. IMO London looks a mess, and Canary Wharf is an example of how not to grow talls! Leave it to the market and you get Canary Wharf - give me La Defense any day!
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Old October 4th, 2006, 10:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Liverpool8 View Post
Different isn't good enough.

BETTER is what is required. Things never become better by chance. They have to be worked at and sustained through more hard work. This fingers crossed, muddling through, approach will all end in tears. We need to have a debate as a city about these issues. It might regalvanise interest in the political process. Politics matter.
L8 you hit the nail on the head in all points.

Last edited by City on The Water; October 4th, 2006 at 11:09 PM.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 10:57 PM   #13
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Proves my point perfectly.. leave it to 'the market.... hiss, boo???) you get NYC, HK or any number of visually attraxctive (as well as still vital) cities... get the development quangos in and you end up with shite... Docklands wasn't the 'free market' as such, but the developers response from LDC to maximise the floorspace on the site. London has been fucked around with for years... that is why sometimes it looks like it doesn't 'flow' properly.


I would ask though... why do people build things?
This is why they get built.... when there isn't good demand you do not get buildings.... people wanting to provide lots of floor space implies??????

What are you limiting when you say "move the fucking icing on the cake to the other side of the candles"?

Paris' skyline/corniceline is great.. uniform 8-9 storeys.. farewwell all that georgina and victorian lowrise as happened in Paris to all the medieval stuff?.. we cannot ever have a uniform corniceline, thank God!

What on earth is all the pretension about (not aimed at you specifically L8... more a general moan!).. we are a higgildy piggledy commercial city, not a designed capital or some architectural study!
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Old October 4th, 2006, 11:00 PM   #14
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Liverpool is a city that is passionate about its architecture, waterfront, docks etc.
It is? Then why has half the south end docks and much of Central docks disapeared and what was built around it total and utter crap?

Now this pillock!
Quote:

Jim Gill, Chief Executive, Liverpool Vision:

Refurbishment started on the Albert Dock 22 years ago, and it has stayed in splendid isolation.

If you look at it on its own, it is a wonderful restoration but I think it has failed as part of a broader regeneration package because nothing has happened around it.
So the Albert Dock is a failure? What an idiot! It is a masive success. He is blaming a success for the failures of the city to emulate the Albert Dock in other parts of the docks. All they had to do was copy the formula - Hamburg adopted this formula too. Look at the web site below and go to the Poor developments page.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 11:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Liverpool8 View Post
The fact that we can determine that a travellodge/Ibis etc is cheap and nasty is because we are applying aesthetic criteria to formulate a judgement. By the same token, buildings in high profile locations in the city need to be scrutinised according to the extent to which they add to the existing area. This is, of course, an area where there will be disagreement and that's fine because hopefully this will serve the function of encouraging people to think through and defend their arguments for or against a particular building. You say, for example, that the buildings on Kings Dock have style and quality. Could you unpack this a bit further? What kind of style? How are we to recognise their quality?
Oh gawd you've got me now. OK I'll have a go.

I think that the purpose of the design of the Kings Dock towers is to harmonise with other buildings that front onto the waterfront and, though quite tall, not be over-dominant.

They have prominent external framing that is two storeys high and reflects that on the adjacent Custom and Excise Building which is a major architectural feature of that building. Therefore, rather than dominate the smaller building (22 storeys vs. 5 storeys) the two act together with the second tower as a composition of buildings of different heights.

The rectangular shape of the buildings also harmonises with the more distant Albert Dock buildings but is completely at variance with the Arena and Conference Centre that is a very curvaceous building. Therefore, what the towers do is to reinstate the line of the waterfront after it has been interupted by the Arena and they also serve to frame the Arena, which is the building that we are expected to look at.

Close up, the framing and detailing of the building has a clean simplicity that emphasises the rectangular grid and may well harmonise with future developments on the Kings Waterfront site.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 11:06 PM   #16
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That not only should it be allowed to change, but that change should be welcomed and celebrated is precicely my plea!
If we have something special we keep it and not screw it up. Then change can where change should be.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 11:13 PM   #17
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So the Albert Dock is a failure? What an idiot! It is a masive success. He is blaming a success for the failures of the city to emulate the Albert Dock in other parts of the docks. All they had to do was copy the formula - Hamburg adopted this formula too. Look at the web site below and go to the Poor developments page.
Why don't you ever read what people say before you launch into your rants? He didn't say that the Albert Dock was a failure, he said that 'it failed as part of a broader regeneration package' which is very different.

Of course, now that the Kings Waterfront is regenerating with the Liverpool Arena and Conference Centre, he might take a much more positive view.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 11:17 PM   #18
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What on earth is all the pretension about (not aimed at you specifically L8... more a general moan!).. we are a higgildy piggledy commercial city, not a designed capital or some architectural study!
When was the last time I told you that you're locked in a 19century history book? We stopped being that city a long time ago. If you are arguing for its return you are arguing for a city that knew how to create top quality urban architecture in a joined up fashion.

You may live in higgildy piggildy city. I don't!

Liverpool's future is culture and commerce.

Spoil the culture, ruin the commerce. People want to relocate to a savvy European city not some Shanghai sweatshop. Liverpool's architecture is one of its main selling points. Compromise it and the city itself is weakened.
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Old October 4th, 2006, 11:21 PM   #19
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Location: Belvedere Park, South Liverpool
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin S View Post
Oh gawd you've got me now. OK I'll have a go.

I think that the purpose of the design of the Kings Dock towers is to harmonise with other buildings that front onto the waterfront and, though quite tall, not be over-dominant.

They have prominent external framing that is two storeys high and reflects that on the adjacent Custom and Excise Building which is a major architectural feature of that building. Therefore, rather than dominate the smaller building (22 storeys vs. 5 storeys) the two act together with the second tower as a composition of buildings of different heights.

The rectangular shape of the buildings also harmonises with the more distant Albert Dock buildings but is completely at variance with the Arena and Conference Centre that is a very curvaceous building. Therefore, what the towers do is to reinstate the line of the waterfront after it has been interupted by the Arena and they also serve to frame the Arena, which is the building that we are expected to look at.

Close up, the framing and detailing of the building has a clean simplicity that emphasises the rectangular grid and may well harmonise with future developments on the Kings Waterfront site.
Thank you. Interesting reading. I need to mull over this one!
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Old October 4th, 2006, 11:31 PM   #20
Martin S
LIVERPOOL
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
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I'm personally not against planning per se. What I am against is the notion that one person or an elite group of people can sit down and determine the look of a city that will last for centuries.

Having said that, I think Baron Hausmann did a fantastic job in Paris but that was done at the expense of knocking down practically every building in the centre of the city and was only done to ensure that the army could quickly and easily put down any insurrection.

Compare that to New York where John Randall Jnr, probably the most incompetent and unimaginative planner in history set out a grid of streets that was to form the framework for the most successful city in the world.

To my way of thinking, planning should not go beyond that. We argue about individual buildings but if a building that you or I or Tony really like turns out to be an eyesore, it can be demolished in the fullness of time. Try doing that to a city plan.

Liverpool has such a mixture of buildings from different eras, Georgian Terraces, Victorian warehouses, Art Deco office buildings, 60s / 70s towers that who can say what is the prevailing style of our city? Who can say what plan suits the city best?
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