IS the ferry terminal building really that bad?
Yes, really. It is, say Building Design Magazine who have awarded the Pier Head Ferry terminal building the “Carbuncle Cup” for crimes against a World Heritage site.
Amanda Baillieu, editor, who judged it with another member of staff on the mag, and an architect after a record number of public nominations, said: "It was given the Carbuncle Cup as much for where it is, as for its lack of architectural merit.
"The city's waterfront is one of the most important historical sites in Britain and you've got to be very careful with the architecture you put up there.”
Yeh right. Hang on, isn't this all a bit shutting-the-stable-door-after-the-horses-have-bolted?
Since being awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status, several boils have formed on the Mersey waterfront – without even mentioning the lost opportunity of Will Alsop's Cloud which was, some say, scuppered after endless mischief put the willies up everyone involved.
The multi-storey car park at Princes Dock is one of the most offensive, and while the jury is still deliberating on the X Box (aka The Liverpool Museum), its next door neighbour on Mann Island, the Neptune development of flats and offices, has the dual distinction of being a blot on the landscape from wherever you stand, while blotting out the best of the waterfront landscape (the Three Graces), should you be standing anywhere south of the Pier Head.
Down here at Wapping there is yet more aesthetic agony in the ungainly shape of One Park West, sixth in the magazine's “hit-parade-with-a-silent-'s'”.
And with a swivel of the head, look at that Police HQ, with its bunker style it is perhaps not the greatest PR tool a force could employ.
Not so long ago, The Royal Liver Building ranked sixth in another list of rank structures – this time an all-time top ten list of ugly British buildings – oddly compiled after a poll was taken of computer game-playing nerds.
The Hamilton Architect-designed ferry terminal came in for criticism from the start. It was “approved” by Liverpool City Council's planning committee in 2007 only after its chairman, Cllr Doreen Jones, said she felt she was being blackmailed into rubber stamping it rather than lose the £9.5m cash earmarked for the development. But rubber-stamp it she did.
Meanwhile, leader of the council Warren Bradley says it's an improvement on what was there before, although that's what they said about Councillor Bradley.
The Merseytravel building houses a ticket office and a Beatles store and exhibition space, but judging by its coffee shop, complete with rows of rest-home style armchairs, owner Natasha Hamilton (no relation) has perhaps employed decorators that interpreted the word “terminal” a little too creatively.
And while the beautiful and interesting recent buildings around town far outweigh the bad, here's our own top – or should that be bottom – funsize ten of Merseyside design maladies. Most of them are perilously close to the river, and given a few years of global warming....
The car park at Princes Dock: “Contracts only” it says above the 0161 number....
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