Iconic Tower rejected

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http://www.saveliverpooldocks.co.uk
Go to Brunswick Quay on the menu
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John wrote:

Interesting tower imho. Do you know who the architects were? It didn't mention their names in the article.
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Simpson. They were invited to tender for the World Trade Centre. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/main.jhtml?xml=/property/2006/11/14/ptowers14.xml
Many people in Liverpool are pissed off at central government interfering. Hopefully, the developer will re-submitted with slight amendments, and then it will get through. I think a slim hope though.
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John wrote:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/main.jhtml?xml=/property/2006/11/14/ptowers14.xml
Small world, I know Ian Simpson. I just competed against him for a project in Australia.
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The developer wanted a scaled down version of the tower to re-submit to appease the idiot politicos. Simpson walked away. Good man.
http://tinyurl.com/368pjj
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I have to say the same for the city. Good for them.
Why not pick someone who has to buy his eggs where the citizens do? The rhetoric in the article looks like the a play on the civic insecurities of the locals, and IMHO, that's quite self-serving. Confidence in one's own judgment is a prerequisite to avoiding becoming the victim of the traveling architectural all-stars, and any other hucksters out to make a buck and a name for themselves.
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Ian Simpson, doesn't have anything to prove at all, and I agree with him, and I am a local he is not. He reach semi final for the replacement World Trade centre Towers in NY.
"Architecture of great quality can bring hope to a city and lift the spirits - that was what we were trying to do. But obviously the client has decided that because the city council has said they want to see something less contentious and of a much lower scale and deliberately non-iconic, that is what they will create."
A bland anywhere stumpy block will emerge on the site. Architects have more constructive things to do than put together designs that they know will never materialise. A top architect turning his back on a city gives a blinking, lit up sign saying "Keep Clear Danger, Take Detour". A downward spiral for the city.
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The view in the city, rightly or wrongly, is that Simpson became a problem when he went public with his frustrations on the dilly-dallying of the city and the developers. A big no, no in Liverpool if you are seeking planning approval. There are a lot of embarrassed faces in the city, for firstly rejecting the tower twice (poorly party political, as all the Liberals said no and all the Labour said yes) and then the politicos came around and warmed to the idea with a new leader.
They didn't do themselves any favours at the shambles of clearing out the existing tenants in the old converted warehouses. I would never blame Simpson as he was understandably angry at the lack of progress, as we all are here. Other cities are much smoother with planning, while Liverpool hums and arhs a lot. Swathes of the city are a World Heritage Site so more consideration has to be taken, however it is laborious and some developers will not look at the city, as matters take years rather than months and each time the planners feel they have to lop floors off a building, as with Peli's building, or downscale just to justify their existence. Their ruling rarely adds any value at all.
Let's hope we do get a super tower. I doubt it will be iconic or even tall enough, more anywhere architecture. There is needless overt conservatism curtailing advancement in a city which invented the modern skyscraper - the world's first modern building, the first metal framed glass curtain walled building, Oriel Chambers, 1864, Water St, Liverpool. 16 Cook St a year or so later.
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You mean partisan, I think. Land use is inherantly political since the first guy proclaimed himself 'chief', and stole someone else's land.

Can I interest you in a monorail?
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That is in contention. Liverpool had the first elevated electric railway in the late 1800s - it was superb. It ran the whole length of Liverpool Docks. One end was actually underground. It was two levels with a goods rail line underneath. There is talk of reintroducing a short section - probably a monrail.
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http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/stations/features/liverpool1.jpg
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http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/sites/l/liverpool_overhead_railway/lor_old7.jpg
The red and white building to the right is the White Star Line offices (they owned the Titanic and others) <http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/sites/l/liverpool_overhead_railway/index.shtml
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http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/sites/l/liverpool_overhead_railway/lor_old7.jpg
<http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/sites/l/liverpool_overhead_railway/index.shtml
The rejected tower. Brunswick Quay on the menu: http://www.saveliverpooldocks.co.uk /
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We've seen the link to what scant documentation there is on this thing earlier in the thread.
I live in a city with a few tall mistakes, and been to others with them, so I'm sensitive to the issues of tall buildings where they meet grade. I haven't seen anything but 3d renderings from great distances, and they don't convince me of anything important.
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MichaelB
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That was my assessment too. Long distance pretty pictures won't convince the masses. John has a problem with accepting that fact.
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The governments chief architect said the site was ideal for a tall building. On a bend in a river, near where an escarpment falls away, water on two sides - the river and the docks. It "is" a very good site indeed for a tall - if you walked around the site you would see why. The more iconic the tower the better. A golden opportunity lost.
The site is on reclaimed flat land. The Liverpool dock estate was built into the river, not cut into the land.
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On 21 Jan 2007, John wrote

Which makes the issue of how it meets grade all the more important.
You want sculpture? Build a sculpture.
You want architecture? Detail how the building works at close range as well as in long view.
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Cheers, Harvey
Architectural and topographical historian
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That's not a license to put up any tall building, surely.
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MichaelB
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On 21 Jan 2007, Michael Bulatovich wrote

And it's certainly not a licence to not bother with critical details (like how it works at grade).
--
Cheers, Harvey
Architectural and topographical historian
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http://i12.tinypic.com/48pnuj6.jpg
The red lines are around three infilled docks - Toxteth, Harrington and Herculaneum. The parallel sheds are old transit sheds that were on the quays, the docks have been filled in creating a large land mass between the sheds. The triangular white shed to the north of the red line is the site, near the river locks. To the south of the site is the infilled Toxteth Dock. To the north of the red line is Brunswick Dock which is filled with water. The site will have water around it on three sides. It think it meets grade very well. Some of the sheds were scheduled for demolition.
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I'm not asking you to make a case for the project, and I don't want to be the voice of opposition to it, but a satellite photo doesn't make the case for the building any better that does a 3d montage from a mile away, IMHO. When reclaiming abandoned, formerly industrial, wastelands there is often a contingent that will argue that 'anything is better than what's there now". This is not the forward thinking that you need to build cities. This is 'urban panic'.
Each large building affect everything that comes after it, and if you make a really big mistake, it'll take generations to correct it. I'm not sure you understand what I mean about the relation to grade, and I'm not sure I understand what is so important about the first tall building going up in this area having to be 'iconic' (whatever that means.) Successful cities are made primarily of successful 'fabric'- individual bits of building that share numerous values and attitudes towards the public realm. Within that fabric, opportunism exist to make building that are special, either because of the site, the purpose, or the vision of the designer, or any combination of these. To try to start out making icons might set in motion a 'higher, louder, faster' dynamic which has ruined a number of young North American cities. You don't want to live in wall-to-wall special.
From what I've seen there is nothing particularly 'iconic' about that design. It's *big*. Is that it? It's office space for rent. That can't be it. At the urban scale, as a piece of sculpture, I've seen worse, but this is only a very small piece of the puzzle. It doesn't seem to possess any detail that can't be rendered at 1:500.
What, for example, are they finely texture brownish blocks to the right of the red rectangle? Are those rowhouses? I hope not. That big blank podium of this design would require some serious transitional elements not to complete dominate that fabric.
Another question: Is there a published plan for the redevelopment of the area including massing? How does this project fit into that plan? How good *is* that plan? If someone is now prepared to pile that many floors on one site, it may be that a patient attitude to the pace of development would be prudent, as there will surely be others who might do a more sensitive reading of the spirit of the place. Have you got any direct stake in this thing?
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MichaelB
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And another thing....That podium isn't above-grade parking, is it?
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