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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Liverpool has lost so many fine building since the devestation of the 2nd World War. Should they be lost forever? Are we so lacking in confidence that we can't recreate buildings from the past that should never have been demolished or destroyed in the first place? Would rebuilding these lost masterpieces add anything to the cityscape or would they entail the Disneyfication of Liverpool

Should we rebuild buildings like:

The Custom House
Goree Piazzas
Dukes Dock Warehouses
Sailors Home

What about rebuilding the Overhead Railway?

What buildings would you like to see rise from the dust? If St Georges Hall works as the finest example of neo-classical architecture in Europe why would stop these babies from kicking ass?
 

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Keltlandia
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I don't believe the replacements would do the memory of the originals justice. The time, effort and money would be on the high side and I can't see any developer volunteering to take up the challenge unless they were heavily subsidised to do so. The city's made many mistakes since the war but we can't really undo what's happened. We should look to the future by looking after what we've got now (whatever we have that's worth preserving) and build a new and exciting future landscape, where old and modern stand side by side in a complimentary way.
 

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Keltlandia
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Louis1986 said:
why live in the past? look to the future
I agree on the whole, though whatever happens in the past shapes the future. This city is currently trying to build it's future on it's past, whereas it should really incorporate the past into the future by respecting our history and heritage but not letting it get in the way of change and progress.
 

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Excellent new thread. I think the exploration of the theme could actually help to establish some fundamental flaws in how we have arrived whre we are with regards to heritage, history and conservation.

This has always been a strong temptation that I feel we should resist.

The only one with any genuine resonance with Liverpool's mighty past would be the Customs House. It was an incredibly unpopular and uncomfortable building to work in though, I have been told by two people who worked there. It was as monumental (bigger than St Georges Hall) as the scale of commerce that Liverpool used to own and manage, I could see a case for this. The rest are simply sentimentality.

A new system using the route of the overhead would be nice, though it would have to be as futuristic to today as the original was when it was built... That is what Liverpool was about, and should still be now... looking forward and outward. it could only be considered as an enhancement of our transport infrastructure and not as some heritage ride thouogh.

What the city needs in the 21st century will be as different as what the 19th century city needed and so destroyed of the 18th century... we have to build what we need. You can see the error when you look at those 21st century hotels on KD that are being made to look like 19th century warehouses. Imagine if the AD would have had to have looked like the old Hall of the castle... would it have looked half as good... would it have been able to fulfill its supposed function?

I could imagine this list growing exponentially until there was a plan to rebuild the 19th century entity... oh, hang on... there is one, in Millennium House, where EH sit!
 

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I used to be against rebuilds or even restorations, but for reasons I don't understand I no longer am. I think my change of mind has to do with ageing, and a changing personal idea of what authenticity is, and my personal conception of time. These things seem to change as you age. When you are in a place, at that moment, perceiving it, knowing you and it exist, and knowing the time, you are really just remembering something that has already gone, if it even existed - something so ephemeral and transitory as to be meaningless in the wider scheme of things. Even the digital camera is just looking back in time and recording a time that is already history by time you read it.

Everything crumbles and decays and rots and disappears in the long run. Our entire planet is doomed to become nothing eventually, no trace, no memory, nothing. We don't even know that ultimately everything is reformed, that matter is necessarily reconfigured from one form or state to another. It may not be. Everything is literally futile, in the long term. That doesn't mean that matter and time and meaning don't exist, they obviously do, but I think in terms of whether a building is authentic, it needs to be considered alongside far more profound trends towards ultimate destruction and futility. We can re-create a structure, and know it will be destoyed again. Future generations may rebuild again, but they may not.

Personally, I believe that the built-form is and can only ever be subservient to collective human will and wishes, rather than the other way round: we build what we want, destroy what we want, recreate what we want, change what we want, remember and forget willfully as well as naturally. If no idea is independent of others, as all exist in a framework of ideas, then no memory of a current or previous built-form is context-free. Thus we are haunted by memories of previous compositions. Nothing on the site of the Customs House exists without being a memory that jars with another memory.

If a structure exists in the minds and hearts and memories, it exists. Many old buildings contain very little that is actually old, given the rigours of repair, mainetance and refurbishment. When I am in a building, I sometimes imagine the hidden structure, the wires, the joists, the mechanics that are hidden from view. I cannot look at a slick internal finish to an office without thinking that just 1 cm away is a chaos of ugliness and colour and botch and confusion. The same on a plane or a train, and - giving a bit of ammunition to here to any trolls from afar who like to pick up tit bits of personal info to use against people - I sometimes think it of people as well. I imagine the brain, the internal organs, all just there, underneath the surface, hidden from view by skin and clothes. So in a meeting, sometimes I wonder about the presence of invisible things that are all around. My point is that what you see is not the only thing that is there, that there is much more around, and that appearance is gigantically deceptive. And everything you see is changing, already a memory, and ultimately doomed to become nothing.

So, having laid out my own thoughts about reality, I hope I have explained why I have no problem with rebuilding buildings that were accidentally or otherwise demolished, as faithfully as imagination and records and materials and craft will allow. The very fact that people wish them to exist indicates that they do still exist. They need to be realised, re-realised, physically.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Louis1986 said:
why live in the past? look to the future
Does this future have to exclude references to the past? Is there a time frame during which it's OK to rebuild, for example, following the devastation caused by bombing, after which, for some reason, it's seen as not OK? What determines these things? Why might it be fine to rebuild the Custom House but not the Sailors Home? Isn't chasing the 'future', similar to chasing the 'past' in so far as it implies an idealised notion of how something should be? Why can't we have it all?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Tony Sebo said:
I could imagine this list growing exponentially until there was a plan to rebuild the 19th century entity... oh, hang on... there is one, in Millennium House, where EH sit!
Presumably not everything in the 19th century is worth rebuilding. Very few things are worth rebuilding but some things might be. If Liverpool had been a rich city after the war, it would have had the choice whether to rebuild or not. Now, as it becomes richer, perhaps the time has come to revisit what was lost and ask whether it can be resurrected. Or is Princes Dock, Unity as good as it gets?
 

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Keltlandia
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Liverpool8 said:
Presumably not everything in the 19th century is worth rebuilding. Very few things are worth rebuilding but some things might be. If Liverpool had been a rich city after the war, it would have had the choice whether to rebuild or not. Now, as it becomes richer, perhaps the time has come to revisit what was lost and ask whether it can be resurrected. Or is Princes Dock, Unity as good as it gets?
Do we have to look back to go one better than Unity? I hope not!
 

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Aye, both yourself and poli below provide excellent reasons as to why rebuilding some of the buildigns we have lost through error, civic vandalism or the war should be considered.

My resistence to this stems from my own desperation sometimes to see at least some of those buildings restored. The reason why I resist this is the simple one of, do we need them any more? When the Victorians demolished, and the georgians demolished what came before them, it was usually to provide something they needed for practical reasons. Obviousley the war and a lot of the destruction in the 60s' were not for any reasons at all of 'practicality.

Is the need for some sense of connectivity sufficient to see these buildings resurected? What would rebuilding these specific buildings provide that we cannot get out of the heritage fabric that does remain? I am quite sure that the demolition and twee replication of the casertelli building was infuriatingly inapproriate, so maybe one or two rebuilds might not open the floodgates to heritage disneyland.. but then I do not own or run the city!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Gareth said:
Do we have to look back to go one better than Unity? I hope not!
Isn't all architecture embedded in past forms? The finishes might change but the basic structures don't. It's not a question of going back to go one better than unity. It's an exploration of what Liverpool has lost and whether it needs to be lost forever. Unity and better than Unity - bring it on! But ... is that all there is? It's 2006 and people still talk about these buildings and the ovie as though they existed yesterday. What is the argument for why they shouldn't be brought back? If a rich entrepreneur wanted to gift us some of these buildings should we say no?
 

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Liverpool8 said:
Does anyone have any pictures of Liverpool's lost architectural masterpieces? It would be great to see them on this thread!
it would be good to produce a book.. more measured than the usual ones we get here.

Surely that would not be beyond us all on this forum to research and pull together. I have a beautiful book on Lost New York, big, thick, lots of writing, comprehensive.. goes into the wider context of the development of the city, ideologies in planning eras etc... brilliant. We have nothing like it in Liverpool.

Maybe we could provide it?
 

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Liverpool8 said:
Does this future have to exclude references to the past? Is there a time frame during which it's OK to rebuild, for example, following the devastation caused by bombing, after which, for some reason, it's seen as not OK? What determines these things? Why might it be fine to rebuild the Custom House but not the Sailors Home? Isn't chasing the 'future', similar to chasing the 'past' in so far as it implies an idealised notion of how something should be? Why can't we have it all?!
no, there is no problem with references to the past, but i really dont think its a necessity to build the aforementioned buildings, when there is really no use for them. rebuilding the overhead railway would be fine because that would be of great use to the city.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Tony Sebo said:
it would be good to produce a book.. more measured than the usual ones we get here.

Surely that would not be beyond us all on this forum to research and pull together. I have a beautiful book on Lost New York, big, thick, lots of writing, comprehensive.. goes into the wider context of the development of the city, ideologies in planning eras etc... brilliant. We have nothing like it in Liverpool.

Maybe we could provide it?

:cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Louis1986 said:
no, there is no problem with references to the past, but i really dont think its a necessity to build the aforementioned buildings, when there is really no use for them. rebuilding the overhead railway would be fine because that would be of great use to the city.
Presumably a use can be found for them? Surely that's not beyond the imagination of the people of this city? Talking abt resurrecting their architectural form not their original purpose!
 

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If we were absolutely sure that the city was focused 100% on the future, and that 'heritage' was not making the problems it has recently, if new buildings were as modern, varied and what ever size they need to be, or the developer wants them to be.. if the city was unreservedly moving forward with utter confidence... then revisiting a few old resurections may not be so bad... shit.... I relented!

I seriously propose that we look at pulling a serious book together... anyone interested? Could look at this in the autumn, but nothing to stop some scoping of ideaas and initial research... subject for a future CL21 or SCC mtg?
 
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