Tag Mann Island

Liverpool Echo show first glimpse inside Mann Island shards

View of the Mann Island developments and the Pier Head, Liverpool

Another Graceful View, by Max/マックス via Flickr

It’s nearly here. You don’t like it, I don’t like it, but the controversial Mann Island development is forever nearer completion. The Liverpool Echo were granted exclusive access inside.

There’s mention of exhibitions, which must be good (though whether this will be a compliment to or a conflict with the new museum remains to be seen), and then there are the “half a dozen top restaurants and … major chains”. What Liverpool waterfront certainly needs are more major chains, right?

But this blog is about history, development and change, not economics (and certainly not shopping). What it’s also about is landscape, and it’s the context of this building which troubles me and plenty of other people.

As modern architecture goes, I quite like it. Sleek, modern, shiny, it’s like a big iBrick. It’s easier on the eye than the One Park West apartments across the Strand with their spidery framework on display.

But as news reports have highlighted recently, and other bloggers too in more personal channels, it has cut off expensive views from other buildings in the area, and destroyed the best, possibly most iconic view of the World Heritage Site from the said Strand.

Plans are afoot to turn the north docklands into a new Shanghai, and the area towards Stanley Dock in the north is a bit cut off, though development is moving in that direction. If this building had been put further north, although it would have clashed just as horribly with the massive brick warehouses, it would have been the right height for the city, keeping that intimate, human-scale feel that we all enjoy about our town, and increased the modern variety that those docks are getting.

However, keeping it away from the Three Graces would maintain that area’s all-important coherence, of proud architecture which has stood the test of time.

What do you think? Is this the right building in the wrong place? Where would you prefer to see it? North Liverpool? Kirkby? Shanghai?

Advice for Historic Areas Conservation

A view of Liverpool Museum and Mann Island from the Albert Dock, Liverpool

Liverpool Waterfront, by adebⓞnd, via Flickr

There’s a lot of bits of interest dotted around the place at the moment, so tonight I’m going to concentrate on the serious stuff, with a couple of more fun things later in the week!

Understanding your local history

Local groups are some of the most important people to help protect the historic parts of our towns and cities. Along with planners, developers and local government, they have the greatest influence on what happens (or doesn’t happen) to historic buildings.

English Heritage have recognised this in their latest guidance notes called Understanding Place (see the Related Publications link on the right). The documents focus on Historic Area Assessments, which are one method of ‘characterisation’ which aims to assess the significance of a historic place through objective research using maps and other documents (it’s a bit like what I do for Historic Liverpool!).

If you’re part of a community group, or it’s your job to study local history and archaeology in a planning and development context, download the free PDFs from EH’s website.

On a wider scope, English Heritage are also asking for your opinion on the National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP). There’s a survey linked to from their NHPP web page.

Merger questions for two of Liverpool’s major agencies

Liverpool Vision (public sector body dealing with regeneration) and the Mersey Partnership (part-public funded, concerned with tourism and investment) may merge as part of efficiency savings by Liverpool Council.

A report is being written by Professor Michael Parkinson of John Moores University, after the council’s new leader Joe Anderson ordered a review. The North West Development Agency (NWDA), as major funders of both bodies, are also in support of the report. Anderson said: “I want to make sure we are efficient and delivering the best possible services and that overlaps and duplication are taken out of the system”.

Do you think a merger will have a positive effect on Liverpool? Or will any cuts risk the city’s continued resurgence?

And finally…

What do you really think of the Mann Island developments? I mean – really? Now’s your chance to let Matt Brook, the man responsible for the “people-orientated approach for design” at Mann Island, know. For more, through-gritted-teeth, details, go to the new Seven Streets website.

They’re article Total Eclipse of the Heart is quite, well, heartfelt too.

Mapping the History of Liverpool

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Old maps from Cassini

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