Mersey Ferry building wins an award – for being awful

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.

Liverpool’s waterfront – ruined or updated?

If you follow the view of the blogosphere, the Mann Island developments buildings, together with the new Merseytravel ferry terminal building (that also doubles as the Beatles Story’s second outlet) and Liverpool Museum, amount to nothing less than the wholesale destruction of the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Indeed, that’s what architects seem to think too.

Such judgements are necessarily subjective, and though I’m reserving judgement for now on the new Liverpool Museum, I can’t possibly see how the Mann Island Developments buildings or new ferry terminal can be judged to be sympathetic to the surrounding area.

In some ways I quite like the Mann Island buildings, but they seem to me totally at odds with the surrounding areas, as if two damaged Borg cubes have suddenly crashed down to Earth on the site of the ill-fated Fourth Grace.

The buildings, along with the museum, almost completely obscure the view of the Three Graces from the viewpoint of the Albert Dock, and add an intrusive full stop to the waterfront’s narrative from Birkenhead.