Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Museum of Liverpool, by 3XN and AEW

After seven years of legal battles, cost-cutting and a change of architects, the £72 million Museum of Liverpool proves a spectacular botch-up completely divorced from its context
It is rare for large public projects to go without a few hiccups along the way. Seldom do they manage to escape being tarnished by scandalised stories of escalating costs or legal disputes, heritage battles or local opposition.
But it is rarer still for a £72 million, seven year in the making, “flagship building” to be so spectacularly botched, so comprehensively fouled up and so completely at odds with its context as the Museum of Liverpool.
This is not the vanity project of a sheikh, nor a bauble bestowed by an oligarch. It is the product of several major publicly accountable bodies – built with money from the Northwest Regional Development Agency, the European Regional Development Fund, the Department of Culture Media & Sport and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
It has been through the statutory planning process, and scoured by the government’s architecture watchdog, Cabe – which bravely remarked that it would “provide a striking addition to Liverpool’s waterfront.” It is at the centre of a Unesco World Heritage site, right next door to the listed Three Graces, and has been passed under the scrutinising gaze of English Heritage. So how could it have gone quite so wrong?...
Read the full article here
Originally published in BD,  3 August 2011