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Liverpool Construction Projects Developments being built on Merseyside



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Old April 9th, 2008, 12:51 PM   #61
markonasty
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The Design is rubbish, I can't believe people are willing to accept a second rate design on such an important site.

The old argument of 'the site needs to be developed, so the development is welcome" is something that really angers me.

I would prefer it to be a car park for an extra Year if it meant we would get something that is worthy of the site and area.

The application should have been thrown out on the basis of Design and not transport, the only reason the JBH is getting demolished is to provide Maghull with an excessive underground Car Park to accommodate their other sites.

The building could easily be incorporated into the whole site. Once again LCC have accepted a sub standard design just to get something built. We are never going to learn, some of the buildings that have popped up over the last few years are a disgrace.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 12:54 PM   #62
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The idea that the Phil is nothing special to look at except front on is an opinion I don't share. Likewise the idea that it's better to fill an empty space with any building so long as it can be seen as serving a space-filling function. We have already seen what has happened in Hope Street when a lazy or bad design is introduced (Federation House). Maybe I'm naive but wouldn't it be great if developers and architects were inspired by a location to produce something special? Maghull openly admit that their design for this site isn't anything special and if you look at their website you can see why this is.

Maghull are at their best when doing warehouse-type conversions but they don't have a track record in producing high quality buildings in sensitive locations such as this site. It shows.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:00 PM   #63
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Right I'll say at this point that I haven't followed this story at all, and I am not familiar with the building in question, so forgive me if some of this has been covered before, or I have some details wrong.

Firstly, as I understand it, the majority of this development will stand on the current car park on the corner of Hope Street. This I agree is a good move to return a proper building line to that section of Hope Street. What I don't understand is why if the majority of the development is on 'empty' land, why a re-development of JBH could not have been attempted towards the rear of the site? Would the building not lend itself to that, making it either logistically and/or economically unviable?

On the other hand is JBH really that special, or is it just old? While I'm not suggesting buildings should be torn down just because they are old, each generation has always replaced what the previous generation built. Has the historical significance of JBH been over-played. To coin a phrase, is the loss of JBH acceptable collateral damage to deliver a development more befitting the area than a surface car park?

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I am suspicious of the night-time photo being used to cover what appears to be cheap red-brick. If it gets used anywhere in the city, please god not here.
It's hard to tell from that render, but could it be sandstone? If it ends up like the sandstone on the Kings Dock hotels I'll have no complaints.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #64
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Well there you go then, thats an end to the suspense. But to be fair, I dont realy see the big deal here... Maghull have won the battle and are throwing in £100 million squid into hope street. Renders have never really been a great indicator of the true quality of the built development, so Im more than confident that this will actually NOT be out of place... and in fact bring into use very much underutilised space. I am not condoning maghull's hacking frenzy, however I do appreciate their investment.

I am however in GREAT suspence for the reccomendation of King Eddy's tower. Its fate will be revealed in 3 weeks!!
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:15 PM   #65
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One of the reasons that we have such shite modern buildings in this country is because people constantly take the pragmatic approach to architecture hinted at above in those posts that fail to see the problem with the Maghull design. It serves a function, it brings in investment - it must be good, or that terrible English cop-out, better than nothing.

Wouldn't it be great if we lived in a country where developers could manage to do both? Produce a building that looked good and was functional.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:15 PM   #66
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It is interesting to know initially when Maghull were planning on keeping the JBH AFL architects were appointed who are arguably very good.

The appointed architects that have now come up with this scheme are UAD Architects, there are no renders on their website and there past projects don't really fill me with great confidence.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:16 PM   #67
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What's wrong with the design? Beyond general announcements that it's 'rubbish', no one has said anything specific apart from that it seems to have brick cladding. There is plenty of brick already in use on Hope Street (e.g. the Philharmonic Hall, Hope St Hotel). Hope Street is in fact very eclectic architecturally and does not have a unifying style or materials. A good mix of uses is proposed for this building. I can't see what the fuss is about.

As for Josephine Butler House, I admit I never really noticed it. I'm inclined to accept EH's judgement about its listability. I certainly don't share Wayne Colqhoun's silly opinion that because they are based in Manchester they can't be trusted with Liverpool buildings.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:23 PM   #68
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What's wrong with the design is that it looks like a converted warehouse - hardly surprising since this is what Maghull normally does.

I like converted warehouses when they really are converted warehouses. I'm just not in favour of having faux 'converted warehouses' because that's all the developer knows - on a site that by virtue of its location (one of the most famous streets in Liverpool) merits something better.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:23 PM   #69
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What's wrong with the design? Beyond general announcements that it's 'rubbish', no one has said anything specific apart from that it seems to have brick cladding. There is plenty of brick already in use on Hope Street (e.g. the Philharmonic Hall, Hope St Hotel). Hope Street is in fact very eclectic architecturally and does not have a unifying style or materials. A good mix of uses is proposed for this building. I can't see what the fuss is about.

As for Josephine Butler House, I admit I never really noticed it. I'm inclined to accept EH's judgement about its listability. I certainly don't share Wayne Colqhoun's silly opinion that because they are based in Manchester they can't be trusted with Liverpool buildings.
Thats exactly it Lathom, nobody ever really noticed it because it was so goddamn insignificant. The only real problem people have with the JBH being flattened is its age and failure getting it listed... because of course EVERY old building regardless of its merits must be listed, and to be fair if that was taken into account with regards to the entire regeneration of Liverpool... we wouldnt have half the modern buildings we do today. This isn't Chester.

Progress is progress whichever way you look at it, and I really struggle to see the argument as to why this development is lacking sufficient quality to be built along hope street??
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:35 PM   #70
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Thats exactly it Lathom, nobody ever really noticed it because it was so goddamn insignificant. The only real problem people have with the JBH being flattened is its age and failure getting it listed... because of course EVERY old building regardless of its merits must be listed, and to be fair if that was taken into account with regards to the entire regeneration of Liverpool... we wouldnt have half the modern buildings we do today. This isn't Chester.

Progress is progress whichever way you look at it, and I really struggle to see the argument as to why this development is lacking sufficient quality to be built along hope street??


This is the type of argument that has resulted in Liverpool losing most of its Georgian heritage and some of its finest buildings.

No one is arguing that a building should be kept just because it is old. The argument is in favour of maintaining the historic built environment wherever possible. JBH isn't of great architectural merit but a more sophisticated developer would have found a way to incorporate it into a new design.

Maghull understood this very well.

That's why they pretended to be carrying out refurbishments.

In terms of the merits of the building - it's always a clue that something is not as good as it could be when the developers themselves admit that it's nothing special.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:51 PM   #71
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The JBH is just more than an individual building; even in isolation I would argue it is a very attractive building.

JBH makes up a small collection of listed buildings such as the old Ear and Eye hospital, it greatly adds to the street scene and surrounding townscape.

With regards to the proposed; the new design looks cheap, there is an overuse of poor red brick and they have tried to stick some coloured cladding on in places to hide the fact.

If you look further up at the building, which will face Myrtle Street, then the design is really poor, it reminds me of your standard office blocks. As for the corner of the site this is where the design fails, there is very little corner emphasis and it will do very little to emphasise the views of the cathedrals and also the Phill.

But I suppose it is all right to accept a poor standard design purely because of what is there at the moment.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 01:56 PM   #72
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This is the type of argument that has resulted in Liverpool losing most of its Georgian heritage and some of its finest buildings.

No one is arguing that a building should be kept just because it is old. The argument is in favour of maintaining the historic built environment wherever possible. JBH isn't of great architectural merit but a more sophisticated developer would have found a way to incorporate it into a new design.

Maghull understood this very well.

That's why they pretended to be carrying out refurbishments.

In terms of the merits of the building - it's always a clue that something is not as good as it could be when the developers themselves admit that it's nothing special.
Fair enough. Though I think it comes down to whether your architectural preference is heritage preservarion or modern expression. Mine is more modern expression, and therefore so long as the JBH is replaced with something of adequate standards and utilises underutilised space, im all for that. As for what is there now, im quite happy to see that go.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 04:06 PM   #73
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I agree with Lanthom that Hope Street itself is comprised of a wide range of buildings representing very different architectural styles using different materials, and it's in that context that I think a modern building, like the one planned by Maghull is appropriate for the site.

Babs you've admitted that you don't like the design because you think it looks like something it's not (a warehouse conversion) - which you have to accept is a matter of personal preference every bit as much as the reasons given by people who do like the design. I accept that there's a danger of adopting an uncritical 'something is better than nothing' attitude to development within the city, especially from people who've lived here for several decades and have a very real memory of the decay and lack of investment which plagued the city for so many years. On the other hand though I think there's another extreme which says that 'only the absolute best - or nothing' - which sounds very noble but doesn't connect very well to reality.

And please don't miss my point, I wasn't arguing that this building should be built simply because it 'fills a gap' - I'm saying the site needs a building because of the gap, and I think that the current proposal fills that gap well, therefore it's suited to the site and represents a benefit for the area. I've seen far far worse designs than this, and although it's not award winning standard I really can't see what's so bad about it. I would still assert that the Phil is nothing special from any angle other than front on (I don't think it was ever supposed to be either) and it actually integrates very badly with Hardman Street, offering a solid mass of browny-grey brick and virtually no street level interaction - BUT - because we all know and love the Phil for what it provides to the city and the area, and because the front face and interior are such wonderful assets, we forgive, forget or fail to notice it's less attractive qualities.

As for the render, well, it might be cheap red brick, and that would be a shame. But at least brick is not the dominant feature and there will be plenty of glass relief.

So, the design is a matter of taste, and evidently does not provoke universal objection.

Let's not forget about the utility - you can't divorce form from function here - this building will provide a number of very valuable assets to the area which will help to unify Hope Street and generally enhance the amenity of the area. Hope Street could do with a good bit of permenant retail space (currently the whole area is only serviced by a few off licenses and numerous Kebab and Pizza houses) and another restaurant will help to further consolidate it's status as an excellent hub of good places to eat in the city. Not forgetting the extra pedestrian space which will be created around a very busy crossing.

It's easy to criticise when a design is not immediately striking or RIBA Gold medal standard, but the city needs to grow across a wide range of developments, some of which, like this, are necessary and functional, meshing into to the general fabric of the city without drawing too much attention to themselves.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 06:28 PM   #74
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Spot on
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Old April 10th, 2008, 11:11 AM   #75
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Disappointing but hardly a disaster, the thing that annoys is mendacity. How can a local authority, or indeed the community, work with a company that deliberately lies about its actions and intentions? I'm personally not so sure that JBH was/is quite as special as some seem to believe, but certainly a replacement should be of very high quality in such a site, and the plans do look mediocre at best. But....we have repeated experience on this site of finding renders to be horrific and then, once the building is built, saying "oh it's not that bad". Many here (including me) were concerned about the new City Lofts block, but it is looking a lot better than the drawings implied. Yes, something genuinely modern would have been better but it's inoffensive and builds the overall bulk of that part of the city. Equally the bland hotels by Kings Dock, which many here (including me) thought were a great disappointment, are inoffensive, and as Tom has pointed out actually don't look that bad from certain angles. So hopefully things in Hope Street will not look as awful as some now fear.

It would be great to see an overview of the all the proposals in Hope Street to see what the impact would be. Maybe a map that marks the plots and links to pictures of what they look like now, and what they will look like if developed.

Incidentally, I noticed last week that the horrifically ****ed up facia of a row of houses (opposite the Hope Street hotel but a bit to the right, if seen from the hotel), which is some kind of housing association office or something, is being done up. I hope they are restoring it, it looks like they might be. There are some quick and inexpensive "wins" for Hope Street as well as the inevitable "losses" along the way.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 11:39 AM   #76
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I agree with Lanthom that Hope Street itself is comprised of a wide range of buildings representing very different architectural styles using different materials, and it's in that context that I think a modern building, like the one planned by Maghull is appropriate for the site.

Babs you've admitted that you don't like the design because you think it looks like something it's not (a warehouse conversion) - which you have to accept is a matter of personal preference every bit as much as the reasons given by people who do like the design. I accept that there's a danger of adopting an uncritical 'something is better than nothing' attitude to development within the city, especially from people who've lived here for several decades and have a very real memory of the decay and lack of investment which plagued the city for so many years. On the other hand though I think there's another extreme which says that 'only the absolute best - or nothing' - which sounds very noble but doesn't connect very well to reality.

And please don't miss my point, I wasn't arguing that this building should be built simply because it 'fills a gap' - I'm saying the site needs a building because of the gap, and I think that the current proposal fills that gap well, therefore it's suited to the site and represents a benefit for the area. I've seen far far worse designs than this, and although it's not award winning standard I really can't see what's so bad about it. I would still assert that the Phil is nothing special from any angle other than front on (I don't think it was ever supposed to be either) and it actually integrates very badly with Hardman Street, offering a solid mass of browny-grey brick and virtually no street level interaction - BUT - because we all know and love the Phil for what it provides to the city and the area, and because the front face and interior are such wonderful assets, we forgive, forget or fail to notice it's less attractive qualities.

As for the render, well, it might be cheap red brick, and that would be a shame. But at least brick is not the dominant feature and there will be plenty of glass relief.

So, the design is a matter of taste, and evidently does not provoke universal objection.

Let's not forget about the utility - you can't divorce form from function here - this building will provide a number of very valuable assets to the area which will help to unify Hope Street and generally enhance the amenity of the area. Hope Street could do with a good bit of permenant retail space (currently the whole area is only serviced by a few off licenses and numerous Kebab and Pizza houses) and another restaurant will help to further consolidate it's status as an excellent hub of good places to eat in the city. Not forgetting the extra pedestrian space which will be created around a very busy crossing.

It's easy to criticise when a design is not immediately striking or RIBA Gold medal standard, but the city needs to grow across a wide range of developments, some of which, like this, are necessary and functional, meshing into to the general fabric of the city without drawing too much attention to themselves.
Maybe I'm misreading you here, Tom, but you seem to be arguing that it's OK to submit a mediocre design (the developers themselves admit that it's nothing special) as long as it has certain benefits - it fills in a space, it provides amenities, whatever. Another thread is something about Hope Street already possessing an eclectic mix of buildings so therefore another one that melts into the background won't be too much of a problem.

I disagree for three reasons:

(1) It's a lost opportunity to have something that is non-generic on this site, given its position and the company it will be keeping. This design is less interesting than any of the other buildings on the other corners - it makes the extension to the Hope Street hotel seem cutting edge in comparision! I accept taste is subjective but this design is not a candidate for inclusion in a future edition of Pesvner and it should have been!

(2) I deplore the English way of muddling through, accepting something functional rather than demanding the best that is also functional - most of the other EU countries and parts of the US wouldn't dream of allocating such a mediocre attempt at architecture to what is in Liverpool terms, a prime location. They strive for and expect the best. There are times when you really know that you are living in England. "Never mind, dear. It could be worse!"

(3) This developer lied to the people of Liverpool and has been caught out in a lie. This is a developer that has a record of not being trustworthy. Given the recent disaster of losing the Greenberg building for nothing, who knows how this developer might fuck us over in the future. A relationship that starts with a lie is not on a solid foundation, to understate it.

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Old April 10th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #77
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Maybe I'm misreading you here, Tom, but you seem to be arguing that it's OK to submit a mediocre design (the developers themselves admit that it's nothing special) as long as it has certain benefits - it fills in a space, it provides amenities, whatever. Another thread is something about Hope Street already possessing an eclectic mix of buildings so therefore another one that melts into the background won't be too much of a problem.

I disagree for three reasons:

(1) It's a lost opportunity to have something that is non-generic on this site, given its position and the company it will be keeping. This design is less interesting than any of the other buildings on the other corners - it makes the extension to the Hope Street hotel seem cutting edge in comparision! I accept taste is subjective but this design is not a candidate for inclusion in a future edition of Pesvner and it should have been!

(2) I deplore the English way of muddling through, accepting something functional rather than demanding the best that is also functional - most of the other EU countries and parts of the US wouldn't dream of allocating such a mediocre attempt at architecture to what is in Liverpool terms, a prime location. They strive for and expect the best. There are times when you really know that you are living in England. "Never mind, dear. It could be worse!"

(3) This developer lied to the people of Liverpool and has been caught out in a lie. This is a developer that has a record of not being trustworthy. Given the recent disaster of losing the Greenberg building for nothing, who knows how this developer might fuck us over in the future. A relationship that starts with a lie is not on a solid foundation, to understate it.
Good response Babs. I don't think you're entirely misreading what I'm saying, although we might agree on more issues than this dialogue indicates.

The question of the quality of design submissions is a very difficult one. On the one hand, the proud idealist in me totally agrees that, as a city, we should only accept the highest calibre designs for any new building proposed within the city limits. On the other hand, the pragmatist in me accepts that in reality cities are composed of a complex mosaic of buildings which represent a wide range of quality in terms of design and materials, and, that for a city to grow, not every design can be of the highest standard. That suggests that to embrace the overall growth of a city you need to accept that some buildings will, and must, be built which, in pure architectural terms, could be defined as 'mediocre' - provided they adequately fulfil the overall requirements of the site.

I'm not saying that's my ideal situation, it is of course a compromise, but I have to accept that my expectations need to match reality on one level or another to avoid living in a state of perpetual negativity and disappointment.

To make any judgement about a new proposal you have to consider it in it's individual context. In the case of Hope Street there are a couple of key questions. What is the pressing need for this site? What are the parameters which define what can fulfil that need? And at what cost will those needs be met?

Answering these questions is where most people begin to have diverging(?!) opinions. I would say that the pressing need is one of utility. We need a new building to fill the gaping hole in the street, to connect Hope Street into one continuous street and to breath new life into the area by adding new residential and retail opportunities. If this was another site, like say the new museum on Pier Head I would have said that the pressing need would be to have a high quality iconic building, ie. design before function.

Now I'm not suggesting that because the function is, in my opinion, the priority in this case, that you can build any old rubbish on the site, especially given the location. The design has to be of a certain minimum standard which will fit well with the surrounding area without drawing too much attention to itself. And again, this is where judgement becomes more subjective and I would say that this design adequately fulfils the requirements of the site, and even go as far as to say that given the historic nature of the rest of Hope Street, something too outlandish on this site might even be detrimental to the area.
To address each of your points:
1) I don't agree that the design is overly generic, and even if it's evocative of similar designs in other cities it does represent something fairly new and unique to Liverpool. And as I said I'm not convinced that this is the right location for a building that screams for attention, especially not given that we have two of the most architecturally significant cathedrals in the country at either end of the street. Part of the reason the Phil works well in its location is that it does sort of 'blend' despite it's massive bulk, as do many of the buildings which, although individual in their own way, form an interesting blend of classic and modern. My personal opinion is that this new building fits into that blend, and that's it fulfils the primary objective of the site very well, and therefore I have no reason to object to it in design terms.

2) Again, although I agree with the sentiment of this argument, and often get frustrated by other examples of this happening, I'm not sure that it applies in every case where a non 'iconic' design is submitted, and I don't think it applies in this case. It's also a slightly romanticised notion that the rest of the developed world is constantly designing new buildings of consistently high creative standards. Have a look on the other EU and US forums and you'll see plenty of 'generic' crap being built in some of the greatest cities in the world. England is not uniquely bad at this, it may have a special gift for moaning about it, but I don't think it's fair to say that we design or build more generic buildings than our European and US counterparts.

3) I do agree with you on this. There are principles at stake here, and it's important that the council tries to deal with honest, up front developers. The trouble is in this case that it doesn't look like the developer did anything wrong from a legal standpoint, so there's little the council can do. I would however like to see them making strong statements of intent about the importance of honest dealings and using the full extent of the law to penalise developers who flout the rules for financial gain and offer nothing to the city in return.

I understand and respect your opinion on this issue, and am not trying to convince you of my argument, just explain my reasons for suggesting that this really isn't the total dissaster that it may have first appeared to be.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 07:31 PM   #78
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I took this picture this morning, not a great pic, but I just wanted to get a quick shot on my way to work.

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Old April 11th, 2008, 11:08 AM   #79
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Cheers CB. I actually like the building behind JBH (or is it still part of JBH?) with that funky New York style fire escape.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 07:26 PM   #80
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Cheers CB. I actually like the building behind JBH (or is it still part of JBH?) with that funky New York style fire escape.
Yup, so do I, it's a fantastic piece of work.

We're losing it, and the city's losing itself for a heap of d-rate, cheap rubbish sanctioned by a bunch of d-rate officials..In this particular instance, thank Maghull.
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