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Liverpool Tower To Be Biggest Outside London

News and comment about Maurice Shapero's King Eddy ambitions

Published on January 24th 2012.

Liverpool Tower To Be Biggest Outside London

NEW designs, inspired by shipping containers, have been drawn up for a Liverpool tower that would be the tallest outside London, beating Manchester’s Beetham Tower by around 30 metres (100ft).

Criticism can be levelled at his stated inspiration for King Eddy Tower of shipping containers. This is in some ways a banal analogy. Any aesthetic pleasure to be found in shipping containers is accidental.

Hoylake-based Richmont Properties is behind the 67-storey, 199-metre building close to the waterfront at the junction of King Edward Street and Leeds Street.

It is the third design for the old King Edward pub site in the last five years. The Architectural Journal have christened it The King Eddy Tower.

Manchester-based Maurice Shapero was brought in after 2010 designs by Leach Rhodes Walker were rejected by CABE.

His plans will house 350 apartments, 21,000 sq ft of shops, 84,000 sq ft of offices and a 13,000 sq ft restaurant. They are expected to be submitted in March.

The application process is being funded by Richmont, which is co-owned by Wirral businessmen Christopher Richards and William Beaumont, but it is not yet clear if funding is in place for the tower. The application is being handled by Peter Buglass of Custard Pie Properties who also owns part of the site.




The plans for a site so close to the Three Graces could face resistance from the city's planners, but Shapero said: "We have had numerous meetings with the planners and have a letter from them unofficially giving their support to the present scheme. We asked them to provide this for the investors to alleviate their understandable concerns about financing another planning application."

Liverpool-based Y1 Developments was involved in the previous plans but it's not known if the company is still involved.

Shapero set up on his own eight years ago after working for David Chipperfield, Michael Wilford, and Steven Hodder in Manchester. His first major project was the Palmiro restaurant building in Whalley Range, Manchester. 

Comment from Jonathan Schofield

I first encountered Maurice Shapero when I interviewed him for his south Manchester project for Palmiro Restaurant.

Concrete ShaperoConcrete ShaperoThis shocked the suburb of Whalley Range with its concrete intrusion into a parade of red-brick Edwardian shops. It also immediately showed the man’s talent for powerful and clear design and that he was an intellect not easily put off.

The protracted debate over Peel Group’s Liverpool Waters proposals has been part of the Liverpool story for two years. UNESCO is seeking compromise on the giant scheme so it doesn't ruin the Pierhead's World Heritage Site status. Thing is, Liverpool Waters lies further from the World Heritage Site of the Pierhead than Shapero's.

It's a measure of the man that Shapero isn't terrified by that debate -as our quote above shows. 

Still criticism can be levelled at his stated inspiration for a King Eddy Tower of shipping containers. This is in some ways a banal analogy. Any aesthetic pleasure to be found in shipping containers is accidental.

Maybe there is something vivid and impressive about long rows of multi-coloured containers stacked on a quayside under vast gantry cranes; the problem is that anybody can find beauty in unpredictable places.

Shapero might as well have said he was inspired by the irregular stone blocks in Jesse Hartley’s gargantuan nineteenth century Liverpool wharfside masonry. Or maybe in the boarded-up rows of windows in Anfield. It’s a bit meaningless.

Even Shapero seems doubtful over the notion. In typically convoluted architectural speech he's written: ‘The shipping container’ metaphor is a way to discover deeper truths and free creativity, rather than allow it to restrict us by operating at a level of literal representation. A generating idea must not become an attachment, but should act as a gateway to the ‘truth’.’

Either way, the idea will hardly endear him to popular opinion or laymen councillors with little knowledge of architecture. It would have been better to keep quiet about the containers and say something like, “The building will represent the pride, ambition and forward-thinking of Liverpool in the twenty-first century just as the Three Graces did in their day."

But if Liverpool declined the opportunity to build Will Allsop’s ‘Cloud’ next to the Pierhead and has agonised over the Liverpool Waters project it’s hard to see how Shapero’s building will become reality. This is a shame as it looks a real cracker. 

We should keep an eye out for Shapero’s work in the North West, he’s come from nowhere to heavy-weight projects in a very short time. He’s the real deal in architectural terms. 

Tweet @JonathSchofield



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

EugeneJanuary 24th 2012.

if this gets built, I will personally drink out of the mersey!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 24th 2012.

I'll drink out of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, and personally I'll be made up if it's never built because it looks bloody awful

Whalley DangerJanuary 24th 2012.

Shocked Whalley Range? To be totally honest I go past that row of shops every day and Palmiro has never even caught my eye. That might be saying more about me, to be fair. Still, even if I am an oblivious idiot, it's not a good sign of shocking architecture.

Lord Rogers of RiversideJanuary 24th 2012.

Good Lord people! Take this design for what it is - a cunning piece of PR.

Nothing like this will even remotely see completion, ever!

May I attract your attention to the computational fluid dynamics analysis that I have just magically performed in my head?

The results of puzzling my brilliant mind are quickly explained:

Falling winds will send any of those overhang panels flying off before you can say 'Desperate Scousewifes'.

Never mind the humming noise this sculpture will create - but hey, you lot in Manchester don't seem to get enough of that...

1 Response: Reply To This...
Josh CurrieNovember 14th 2012.

i agree with the statements that this building is ugly.. fair enough, but dont you think the architects (or more likely the civil engineers) behind this building would take into account both noise generation from the shape of the building, and maybe theyll fasten on the panels extra tight so they dont just blow off... i heard the same thing said about the new development at Mann Island, another building people think is ugly, and people thought would 'whistle' and 'humm', but i've been down here every day for the past four months, and I've not heard a thing.. i think when people dont like something they just complain, the people that do like it, dont bother complaining. Hence this website being full of people complaining and moaning about new, modern architecture, which personally i believe gives a fantastic backdrop for the three graces, like the old and the new (the three graces are, after all, just concrete poured into moulds to make them look like stone, really theyre just concrete clad steel framed buildings, much like the steel framed buildings that nowadays are being coated in insulating glass panels that will ultimately greatly outlive those made of concrete.
Also, its 'Desperate Scousewives'.. pluralised=wives..

LRWJanuary 24th 2012.

We've never built a tower either

AnonymousJanuary 25th 2012.

Never ever, ever happen... I've had enough experience working for a famous Mancunian tower maker to know how hard it is to get things build there in that area.

Cloud 9January 25th 2012.

Thank goodness this has come along. I was worried that the Reional property press would have nothing to write about after The Cloud, Liverppol Waters etc. Was the building comissioned by ManCon/Place/Insider etc ?

Simon BinnsJanuary 25th 2012.

Don't worry. We've always got the declining office market and senior property professionals leaving to form their own companies to write about.

Mitch ElinJanuary 25th 2012.

And of course the many food/drink reviews.......

Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 25th 2012.

Bless you Cloud 9. Tower proposals are great, grand buildings are fabulous, built fantasies - sometimes at odds with practicality and the times. Come on Cloud 9 don't you get a little bit excited, wouldn't you want to design one?

AnonymousJanuary 25th 2012.

Will it have a built in whistle like Ian's or a whole band of aeolian chimes playing 'Penny Lane' or can we select them with an app?

AnonymousJanuary 25th 2012.

Jon I love towers as much as Manchester 'planners' love canyons. If it's so good why are we pulling down Sunlight House our first try.

Are towers a compensation for their designers' and lovers' a certain lacking in their anatomy

Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 25th 2012.

That's one way of looking at them. I find towers uplifting. And good lord who on earth is proposing knocking down Sunlight House? Do tell. I'm sure you must have got this wrong.

AnonymousJanuary 25th 2012.

was it not part of the trof in the cellar thing... flower shows (only for two years cos it being redeveloped.)

Incidentally there are a lot of towers who haven't got up near me and I was at a Future of Manc presentation which I sure you no about with lots more along the breezy canyons in the rain.

1 Response: Reply To This...
CobbydalerFebruary 7th 2012.

You're confusing Sunlight House with Quay House...

Terry WalshMarch 12th 2012.

havent 'Ciddy' got a tower bigger than the london one?
im sure i've heard it ...or was it 'massive windows'?...' biggest chubb lock'?...doesnt matter, everything else is more 'massiver' anyway, coz its 'Ciddy'........
bertie magoo.

AnonymousMarch 20th 2012.

I think something more than what appears to be a paper model may be required to convince people of the reality in this.
I hope the wondrous Maurice got paid up front I think his great Aunt Helen could do better than this and I bet he can't sing!!

Ghostly TomMarch 31st 2012.

I doubt it will ever be built

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