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Bling it on back

Herbert's glam building up for top award as Liverpool dominates architectural oscars list. Will he go all the way?

Published on March 19th 2009.


Bling it on back

GERRY the Duke of Grosvenor will have a reason to crack open one of Herbert Howe's bottles of champers today after RIBA announced his £1bn Liverpool One baby is taking up five places on the shortlist in the North West Architectural Awards.

And the crowning glory in the shortlist is Herbert of Liverpool’s Bling Bling building on Hanover Street.

The youthful-looking crimper was involved in the design of the zany building, though the proposed zebra-skin finish on the external walls seemed to have fallen by the wayside. Herbert travelled to Tokyo and New York for inspiration and spent hours talking to Piers Gough of London architects CZWG to ensure his personality was reflected as much in his kingdom as it is in his dazzling smile.

His old place in Paradise Street was in the way of Liverpool One, so along with Radio Merseyside, the Quakers and that big Argos, they had to split.

The five nominations for Liverpool beat Manchester’s three, a reflection that the massive regeneration work close to the waterfront is starting to earn professional endorsement.

Even the bridge, linking John Lewis with the car park, earns a nomination. The bridge, one of the wonders of this modern new Liverpool, was designed by Wilkinson Eyre, the same outfit who created the blinking eye bridge across the Tyne in Newcastle. The same outfit designed the new Paradise Street bus station and the new ACC Liverpool arena and convention centre at Kings Dock.

In engineering terms, the footbridge is viewed in awe by professionals who see it as an amazing structure. How come it doesn't fall down? Certainly it looks impressive at night in its luminous red lighting.

Celebrated Argentinian Cesar Pelli is also in with a shout for his Chavasse Park vision on which sits One Park West. The parkland, with fountains playing and mature trees shipped in from Germany, is actually supported by giant white polystyrene pillars. We've seen them.

It all hides a multitide of sins, ie the massive underground Q Park and is one of the striking features of Liverpool One, its shape and form created by the man who gave the world the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur – once the world’s tallest building.

The 12 schemes also include Urban Splash's Midland Hotel in Morecambe, a private house in the Cheshire money belt, Bramhall, and Manchester’s first BREEAM “excellent” rated office building. Breeam is shorthand for the way a building responds to the environment and sustainability.

The judging panel, comprising of Philip Gumuchdjian, of Gumuchdjian Architects, Sir Duncan Michael of Arup and Rod Hughes of Ad-hoc Associates will visit each scheme on the shortlist before deciding which ones will win a prestigious RIBA Award on 20 May 2009 at a ceremony in Manchester's Urbis.

Belinda Irlam-Mowbray, Director of RIBA North West, said: “There is an immense amount of variety in the types of projects shortlisted this year.

“We are particularly delighted that of the 12 schemes shortlisted, the majority have been designed by North West based practices, demonstrating the wealth of architectural talent in the region.”

RIBA say the big carrot in the awards is that the winner become eligible for the Holy Grail of the architectural world, the Stirling Prize. It’s the equivalent of a Nobel.

Blimey. What will Herbert wear for that?

Which one do you like best/worst or are you still wondering why the multistorey car park next to the Malmaison always misses out? Let us know.

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Edgar Allan PoeMarch 19th 2009.

I really really like the Chavasse Park job. People slag it off all the time, moaning about the Noel Chavasse memorial being gone. They should move on. These are hard times, with hard realities, not about some statue.

DigMarch 19th 2009.

How about 'QDos' for a name for the bridge? Sounds good and it's also where John likes to doss of an evening.

CurtisMarch 19th 2009.

The bridge looks like a tetra pack. Please no!

Square faceMarch 19th 2009.

I do like that bridge. Everyone probably hates it, like they did with the superlambanana, but they'll love it in the end. Shame it hasn't got a name. Q Park bridge or something snappy. Better not say snappy, it looks a bit, well, precarious...where's its struts?

John The TrampMarch 19th 2009.

I like the bridge too. Somewhere to sleep, intimidate and beg since they knocked my Pall Mall bridge home down. Don't forget to turn that red light off. It's starting to attract women of ill repute that I can't afford.

DaveMarch 19th 2009.

I love the bridge that links the car park to John Lewis. It also doesn't smell of piss which is a bonus.

Noel Chevasse, VCMarch 7th 2013.

Where's my memorial?

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