THERE are no grey areas when it comes to one of Liverpool’s most controversial modern developments, just solid black on the blocks that comprise Mann Island.
And people either love or loathe them - with one celebrated critic referring to them as Liverpool’s black coffins and nomination for the Carbuncle Cup.
What, then, will the professionals make of Mann Island now it has been shortlisted for a gong in the RIBA’s North West annual awards? Some would have preferred to see a breaker’s ball.
Ignore the fact that Mann Island is earmarked as the new home of RIBA North West with ambitious plans to transform it into an architectural dreamland.
Unforgiving are many Liverpolitans who care about the look of the city. Mann Island and its next door neighbour, the Museum of Liverpool, were replacements on the site for what would have been Will Alsop’s Cloud. That disappeared in a puff of smoke when the plug was pulled.
Mann Island has now surfaced as one of the 15 projects listed by RIBA North West for design honours, the results to be announced at Halle St Peters in Manchester on April 16.
Last year the top prize, as well as the coveted Stirling Prize, landed in Liverpool when the born-again Everyman Theatre upstaged everything in sight.
RIBA’s judging panel will now be heading out on a North West recce to inspect all of the shortlisted schemes.
Mann Island is up against a number of impressive contenders - from a new Waitrose store in Chester to the recently re-opened Whitworth Gallery in Manchester.
Closer to home, the shortlist includes12 Jordan Street Studios in the Baltic district, by Pearson Architects; the nearby Constellations Bar, by Howard Miller Design; Maggie’s Merseyside at Clatterbridge, Wirral, by Carmody Groarke; St John Bosco Arts College, Croxteth, by BDP; Westmorland, Liverpool, by Snook Architects, and an architecture-designed house in Formby by shedkm.
Up the road in St Helens is GreenAcres Woodland Burial Parks by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
RIBA North West Awards shortlist:
12 Jordan Street Studios, Liverpool by Pearson Architects
All Souls, Bolton, by OMI Architects
Constellations Bar, Liverpool, by Howard Miller Design
GreenAcres Woodland Burial Parks, St Helens by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Fielden Clegg Bradley
Highfield Humanities College, Blackpool by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Feilden Clegg Bradley
House in Formby, Merseyside by shedkm
Lancaster University Engineering Building, Lancaster by John McAslan + Partners
Maggie’s Merseyside at Clatterbridge, Wirral by Carmody Groarke
Manchester Metropolitan University Student Union, Manchester by Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios
Manchester Town Hall Extension, Manchester by Simpson Haugh and Partners
Simpson Haugh Partners
Mann Island, Liverpool by Broadway Malyan
St John Bosco Arts College, Liverpool by BDP
The Whitworth, Manchester by MUMA
Waitrose, Chester by Broadway Malyan
Westmorland, Liverpool by Snook Architects
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