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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With Liverpool I think this I quite a telling question because of the trasition period at the moment - what would you prefer to see - buildings that blend in with the historical and cultural ways of our city, or have buildings that stand out creating, in effect, a post modern cityscape?

It's something that I was thinking about the other day, do you modernise rapidly and thoroughly or do you respect history and culture - or even both?

I have a thought but I want to see what everyone else thinks first
 

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neither really. You can have buildings that reference an older adjacent one, but we do not need to pay undue reverence merely because a neighbour may be aged.

My personal view is that the vast majority of new constructions should reflect the age in which they where built, placing the emphasis on quality of design and construction, rather than merely aping. That in fact is what our city has always done.
 

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My feelings are that we shouldn't be afraid to put our own stamp on the city, exactly as our predecessors did when they built what we now regard as architectural icons of our city - the Liver Buildings, St. George's Hall, even the Radio City Tower. If people who were around when those buildings were commissioned had had an outlook of blending in, we wouldn't have any of them.

The problem with trying to get new buildings to blend in, is that they invariably end up looking mediocre (or worse). Certainly in Liverpool, they are often uninspired, functional maybe, but offering little in the way of architectural interest. If they are interesting to start with, and do stand-out, but people subsequently try to tweak them to get them to blend in, the end result is largely the same, with the buildings ending up as watered down versions of what they should have been (see One Park West as a perfect example), or worse, if they try to blend in by virtue of copying earlier designs they end up as a pastiche. In short, trying to get buildings to blend in doesn't seem to work, and you just end up with poor quality architecture, and poor quality streetscapes as a result.

For me, the Mann Island blocks and the Museum of Liverpool are good examples of how buildings that do stand-out, are interesting, and are of their time, can and do sit well alongside older buildings. The arena/convention centre and hotels are another good example, sitting well next to the Albert Dock. In each case, they represent very different architectural styles, however they work well together. I know not everyone is sold on the new architecture going up in the city. But I'd much rather see buildings like the Mann Island blocks going up, buildings that inspire opinion and debate, and in a positive way say 'we where here' to those to that will put their mark on the city in years to come, than have buildings like the Dolls House that inspires little more than derision, and many would like to see the back of.
 

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My problem is that apart from Mann Island and the new Museum, NONE of the new buildings in Liverpool stand out.

The problem we have here is in placing. If you asked the average person should a stand out modernist building be built in the World Heritage site then 90% or more will say no.

If you said should we build world class, iconic, totally stand out unique buildings in a suitable area such as the North docks in Liverpool Waters or vauxhall then the answer would be 90% saying a firm yes.

The public support for skyscrapers/mini manhatten in North Liverpool shows quite obviously and clearly where new mordernist buildings should have been built.
 

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I was disappointed that the cloud never materialised in another place. it was never right for the Pier Head, but at North Docks or maybe even at the garden festival site it would have been an incredible attraction.
 

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The problem we have here is in placing. If you asked the average person should a stand out modernist building be built in the World Heritage site then 90% or more will say no.
You're probably right, but IMO the 90% would be wrong, and I think the new Mann Island blocks and the new Museum are evidence of that, as they actually make a valuable and interesting contribution to the WHS.

My problem is that apart from Mann Island and the new Museum, NONE of the new buildings in Liverpool stand out.
Maybe, but that's not to say some of the other new buildings aren't good quality (see the arena, Hilton, and Beetham West).

I think the issue here might be that perhaps due to Liverpool's troubled past, and perceptions leading from that. Maybe for financial reasons, or maybe some other reason, not as much was pitched at the city as was at our competitor cities, meaning, under law of averages, the number of stand-out developments was less too. Factoring in all the developments we got, and those that fell by the wayside, how many were genuinely stand-out?

Another factor is that the city is only just turning a corner when it comes to stand-out architecture. We very slowly seem to getting to a point where we don't instantly become scared by stand-out architecture, and almost universally try to either block it or water it down (see Brunswick Quay and One Park West). Hopefully the Mann Island blocks and the new Museum are the first of many buildings that do genuinely stand-out. Obviously the economic conditions may hold that back somewhat, but maybe once developers start pitching again, we will see more Museums and less Beetham 1's?
 

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I like the Malmaison as well, but the sad fact is that, partly as a result of the city's obsession with ye olde worlde, we now have loads of mediocre late 20th and 21st C buildings, where as manchester, Glasgow and even Leeds have loads of really good ones. Future heritage has not been a Liverpool aspiration of late. Probably part of the devestating subtle impacts on the psyche of 30 years of managing decline.


Liverpool, the larger entity never really has been as superior as some of our commentators/boosters make out. We have a hand full of buildings that no other city can rival, but after that we are much the same as other British commercial cities. Glasgow, for example, has block after block, for miles, better streets than Castle St. Our future may have ben hijacked by a group of sinlge buildings!
 

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Unity is pretty good. We seem to be forgetting about that one already. I know there's not that much competition, but it's my favourite of the recent boom.

I thought Liverpool One would have resulted in more decent buildings than it has I'm afraid.
 

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^^

So do I. The office block just seems to be missing something, perhaps feeling unfinished without a Portakabin on top.
 

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Maybe, but that's not to say some of the other new buildings aren't good quality (see the arena, Hilton, and Beetham West).
The buildings mentioned are a valuable contribution to the city and are/were needed. They do not stand out though and the question was 'blend in or stand out'. Those buildings mentioned could be buildings from any town.





I think the issue here might be that perhaps due to Liverpool's troubled past, and perceptions leading from that.
Liverpool City Council knocked back far too many projects on planning grounds and had a disasterous tall buildings policy that probably detered hundreds of millions of pounds of inward investment. This was suicidal and gave power to the idea that Liverpool is not a can do place and is in fact a very hard place to get projects off the ground.

Brunswick was a wasted opportunity and would have been a stand out building in a reasonable location.
 

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I like the Malmaison as well, but the sad fact is that, partly as a result of the city's obsession with ye olde worlde, we now have loads of mediocre late 20th and 21st C buildings, where as manchester, Glasgow and even Leeds have loads of really good ones. Future heritage has not been a Liverpool aspiration of late. Probably part of the devestating subtle impacts on the psyche of 30 years of managing decline.


Liverpool, the larger entity never really has been as superior as some of our commentators/boosters make out. We have a hand full of buildings that no other city can rival, but after that we are much the same as other British commercial cities. Glasgow, for example, has block after block, for miles, better streets than Castle St. Our future may have ben hijacked by a group of sinlge buildings!
Not having that.

Leeds is the epitome of shit red brick and glass boxes.
 

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The buildings mentioned are a valuable contribution to the city and are/were needed. They do not stand out though and the question was 'blend in or stand out'. Those buildings mentioned could be buildings from any town.
The Hilton and Beetham West maybe, but I'd disagree on the arena. It's a tricky one, because while I concede it may not be stand-out in the way the Mann Island blocks and the Museum of Liverpool are, I don't think you can say it's 'any town', either, as it's clearly the best arena, architecturally speaking, in the country.

Liverpool City Council knocked back far too many projects on planning grounds and had a disasterous tall buildings policy that probably detered hundreds of millions of pounds of inward investment. This was suicidal and gave power to the idea that Liverpool is not a can do place and is in fact a very hard place to get projects off the ground.

Brunswick was a wasted opportunity and would have been a stand out building in a reasonable location.
Agreed, that no doubt put off some developers as well.
 

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The arena is a well designed building with a nice asthetic. 'Stand out' though for me would be something along the radical lines of this....



 

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^^

Oh I agree, those most definitely are stand-out, and I'm not attempting to compare the arena to them. It's just that while acknowledging the arena isn't as stand-out as they are, I'm also merely acknowledging that the arena is a really good building, and it certainly doesn't belong in the 'blend in' category.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Interesting thoughts, I do think judging by what I studied in Liverpool for my degree it seems that the council is concerned of losing old heritage identity and then start building buildings that merge in with the rest (older buildings). This can be seen on the waterfront, I think even though the Museum and Ferry Terminal are welcome additions and I do confess I like both designs, I just get the feeling that the colour and the use of straight lines is in reference to the three graces behind and this causes a merge.

I'm all for symbolism and reference, but I'm a massive "city lights" junkie and I want to see like many others in here striking new, tall, profound buildings that like Chris says can put their own unique stamp on the city, but at the same time make some kind of leap into a post modern world, I just fear that Liverpool is struggling to keep up with the rest of the UK. Of course it's not that simple and money is an object, but as you develop it should in theory become a money spinner so maybe we will be surprised in the future.

I just hope for Liverpool's sake, that we don't get too much emphasis looking back to the past when designing future buildings - although I acknowledge the importance of history in a cities architecture, I just think a developer/designer/architect needs to take a chance, perhaps moreso than has been done recently..

we will complain though, afterall we're mostly British!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks Tony, I actually signed up a while ago, I had to re-register due to password difficulties.

Anyway this is by far my favourite architectural building complex in the world, this pretty much encapsulates 'stand out' for me

The Sony Centre in Potsdamerplatz, Berlin an semi outdoor building with an impressive teepee like dome covering the complex - truly breathtaking, and having been there the atmosphere inside is nothing short of amazing especially at night.. has anyone else been to this?, if not I truly recommend it, and Berlin as a city, fantastic!

 

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Interesting thoughts, I do think judging by what I studied in Liverpool for my degree it seems that the council is concerned of losing old heritage identity and then start building buildings that merge in with the rest (older buildings). This can be seen on the waterfront, I think even though the Museum and Ferry Terminal are welcome additions and I do confess I like both designs, I just get the feeling that the colour and the use of straight lines is in reference to the three graces behind and this causes a merge.
As I said above, if you asked people if they wanted stand out modernist buildings they would say yes. If you asked them do you think they should be within the WHS zone they would say no.

I personally believe that the museum, the arena and the mann island buildings are all top notch in design and build quality. Should they be where they are though? Probably not.

The place to drive that kind of building towards is in the north end of Liverpool in the deprived areas of vauxhall and the northern docks. This would have had a double edged solution of creating the buildings we need, while at the same time kick starting Liverpool Waters and adding the framework for that to work.

At the moment what we have is a desolate region that has nothing in the area that can be looked at by investors (such as a stadium or an arena) that would suggest "ok yes we can build here theres a precident been set".

The Pier Head could have had some more sypathetic buildings built using traditional materials to the age of the surrounding buildings and with similar design and decoration. There is a lot to be said for tasteful classical design and I see nothing wrong with homage buildings that would match up with what is there now. Better still they could have built nothing there and instead made the entire area into a massive public park with awe inspiring tree lined avenues, green spaces and grassed areas, public gardens and/or even considered adding more waterways or even doing what John MK would love to see and dig out unused docks.

My point is that we can have stand out, but is the historical pier head WHS zone the place to do it? I'm siding towards "probably not, nevertheless we do have some fine buildings there now and the area had to be brought back into use".

Whatever criticisms Waynbe and his merry band may have about the new buildings, he cannot say that the whole area has not been revitalised. I have never seen so many people on the waterfront/pier head as I do these days.


I just hope for Liverpool's sake, that we don't get too much emphasis looking back to the past when designing future buildings - although I acknowledge the importance of history in a cities architecture, I just think a developer/designer/architect needs to take a chance, perhaps moreso than has been done recently..

we will complain though, afterall we're mostly British!
Liverpool Waters is the key and it's on that land that iconic modern buildings need to be built. I feel that since theres virtually nothing there but a desolate wasteland there is a fresh, clean canvas there to draw up some incredibly imaginative buildings.

My main concern in Liverpool remains the accpetance of heritage buildings falling apart while noone does anything AND the wanton loss of green space. We need old buildings to be restored, kept for future generations and we need more parks, trees and grass in Liverpool in general.
 
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