Mersey Ferry building wins an award – for being awful

 September 3, 2009         Leave a comment

I’m feeling a little vindicated in my view that the new Merseytravel ferry terminal and Beatles Story outlet is badly situated and unsympathetic to its surroundings.

Others have been more forceful in their views, and now the building has won the Carbuncle Cup, an architecture magazine’s award for the worst new building. Incidentally, One Park West – a building I think may be worse – was also nominated.

The ferry building is described as ‘a shining example of bad architecture and bad planning’ on the Building Design website. As I’ve said before, what constitutes bad architecture is open to debate and not something I’m qualified to judge.

But it should have been clear all along that the siting of the building as it has appeared was problematic at best: in front of the three graces and slap bang in the middle of a UNESCO World Fricking Heritage site.

Anyway, for the record, here’s what some of yer actual architects think:

“The winner is the building that shows how bad architecture and bad planning can combine to produce something truly awful — a building so ugly it can turn human flesh to stone or at the very least make grown men cry.”

“…in thrall to some horribly misconceived idea of the avant–garde.”

“It is such an amazing site, directly in front of the Three Graces, but the architects seem barely to have noticed. It is like letting a bad second-year student build next to St Peter’s.”

“This is bad patronage by an ignorant council which thinks having jazzy architecture is putting the city on the map again.”

And there you have it. Another finger levelled at the council, or at least the collection of QUANGOs, lobby groups and other interests that seem to have a hand in deciding what gets built and where in the city. Once again, Liverpool looks like a basket case thanks to its leaders.

I’ll leave the last word to Building Design:

“When you go there you think: oh no, I can’t believe they’ve done that.”


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