It’s a sign of the times that the guide to the twenty-first century buildings in the city centre of Liverpool, is already in its second edition. The New Liverpool: modern architecture for a modern city in fact includes buildings back into the 1990s.
Andrew F Robinson’s survey lists and describes Liverpool’s new buildings in five well-mapped itineraries around the city-centre, and occasionally indicates what is proposed for currently empty sites. His list shows how prolific are such architectural practices as Falconer Chester Hall [http://www.fcharchitects.com]. He also nods to the buildings lost to these new developments and, in some cases refers to structures conserved, retained as façades or rebuilt in replica.
He provides the sort of informal insights that don’t crop up in volumes of the Pevsner series – which architect designed his mother’s name in Morse code into a building (Paul Monaghan at the Unity Building, 2007), which building was topped out by its occupant and the architect wearing pink hard hats (Herbert’s ‘Bling’ Building, 2006) and which architect omitted to provide waste disposal in an apartment block (no names, see page 9…).
Sometimes he’s obliged to note “architect and builder unknown”, a recognition that information about new buildings isn’t easy to come by. Newly-built buildings don’t always show up on the internet or, indeed, in Liverpool’s excellent local studies library. In one case, Andrew Robinson reports that a builder flatly refused to disclose details for publication (no names, see page 27…).
The New Liverpool fills a gap between publications of record, such as the Pevsner volumes, and the current architectural press, which is aimed primarily at professionals, so that people who are simply interested in buildings and those who live in and with developing cities can identify who designed what and why in their community.
The New Liverpool: modern architecture for a modern city is obtainable from West Derby Publishing, 279 Eaton Road, West Derby, Liverpool, L12 2AG for £3.00. [ISBN 978 1 871075 09 0].
For details of Mike Higginbottom’s lectures on Liverpool architecture, please click here.