This article appeared in the Manchester Evening News in August 2015
As I often say, architects are like gods. They create our world, or at least, our built world. But they can get things wrong. When something new appears, people often start to moan: “Monstrosity!” “I hate it!” “Looks like a child’s toy” “Rubbish”.
Architects have a difficult job, they can’t please everybody and they are subject to limitations. I remember Ian Simpson pointing out that his design for the Hilton tower (2007) was influenced by a budget that was much smaller than for a similar building in London. And I often wonder if the boxy design with the overhang was influenced by the demolished Agecroft Colliery.
By contrast, the Civil Justice Centre (Denton Corker Marshall, 2007) cost £113 million. One The Avenue (Sheppard Robson, 2009) is structurally interesting with its paralellogram diagrid construction, but it stands right next to the Victorian Gothic John Rylands Library (Basil Champneys,1900).
Does that make it a carbuncle? One St Peters Square (Glenn Howells) is a dominating building but is it too dominating? How do I feel about these four buildings?
Actually I like them, especially the Civil Justice Centre, and maybe with time, more people will too.
Article and photos originally appeared in 2014 in my weekly column in the Manchester Evening News