Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Wayne Colquhoun Asks Will Alsop Questions About The Ill Fated Fourth Grace.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to ask Will Alsop some direct questions a few years after he was unceremoniously dumped from the Fourth Grace(sic) Scheme that he had put so much into, in fact he may have even staked his company on the schemes go-ahead. I did not wish to wind him up or get him annoyed but it seems, from his reply that the whole World Heritage Blight fiasco is still an open wound with him.

It was an open question and answer session organised by Building Design Magazine. http://www.bdonline.co.uk/  This if we remember is the influential architectural publication that awarded Liverpools Terminal Ferry Building the 2009 Carbuncle Cup award.

http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.aspx?storyCode=5001534

Wayne Colquhoun :
Your past comments about Liverpool when you were promoting the idea for a Fourth Grace said “Liverpool aint easy” could you elaborate
Monday June 28, 2010 3:37

William Alsop: I never floated ideas for the Fourth Grace, it was a competition which was limited to four architects of which I was one. I made a detailed presentation and was fortunate enough to win on the basis that the North West development agency would have to put in £70million of public money otherwise they should choose one of my competitors. They agreed to do this and subsequently ringfenced the £70million. I then continued on detailed work until the project was cancelled because they had to raid the £70million to meet a shortfall of funds on the King's Dock project. In my opinion Liverpool had used their planning department as a stalling device.

Monday June 28, 2010 3:41

Wayne Colquhoun : ] Indeed I think you were taken advantage of by the Liverpool city council in order to put the idea to develop the World Heritage Site, which should not have been touched. I did not like your scheme but the public in general are agreed that they would have prefered your Cloud.

Monday June 28, 2010 3:48


William Alsop: I agree up to a point. I think the site required a building, which was as brave as the three existing graces. I was in Liverpool a lot at the time in question where I got nothing other than support from the good people of Liverpool. I feel that the Liverpool museums who were stakeholders in the project always had their own agenda and were not helpful. Indeed, you could say perhaps even two faced. In the end, this is all history but I do believe that Liverpool deserves much better than it got whether it was my building or not. What they have ended up with lies in the general malaise of architectural mediocrity that we find so popular with the current architectural press. I am sorry you didn't like my proposal but in spite of this, I am sure you are a very nice man.

Monday June 28, 2010 3:53

Wayne Colquhoun : ] Thanks for your honesty.

Monday June 28, 2010 3:59


This is of course a brief exchange but it tells such a lot. He calls Liverpool Museums two faced. I think myself, they are five faced.
I could have told him that and with Mike Storey as council leader, later to resign in disgrace, and on the NWDA committee and a trustee of Liverpool Museums at the time anything else could have hardly have been expected.
I am understating when I say I didn’t like the idea, I hated it. It was from Cloud Cuckoo-land, but I know he was used by the Council Spivs to develop the idea to develop a world heritage site. Very Cosy the way Neptune Developments stayed there though.

I think the cloud was cuckoo land and would have been a Disgrace never mind a Fourth Grace(sic). But what we have ended up with, The Fifth Grace, by his help and throwing his weight behind the Fourth, is World Heritage Vandalism.




This is a building he designed called The Public, In West Bromich, that closed before it had opened.
 It has an uncanny resemblence to The Black Coffins at Mann Island that he proclaims are "A malaise of architectural mediocrity".






 http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2006/jun/25/architecture

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/gallery/2008/jun/18/public

3 comments:

  1. http://liverpoolpreservationtrust.blogspot.com/2010/06/two-faced-liverpool-museums-will-alsop.html

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    rayefc wrote:
    I think Alsop is spot on.His The Cloud was in many peoples eyes a building you would stop and admire.I can,t see anyone taking time out to look at these black monstrosities.
    30/6/2010 9:40 AM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    Shaun wrote:
    Sour grapes? could be but i'll have to agree with him.
    30/6/2010 10:26 AM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    Shaun wrote:
    HonestJohn just seen 'The Public' in West Bromwich. it is horrendous.
    30/6/2010 10:27 AM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    fitcar wrote:
    I agree,this guy seems a little bitter to me.By the way i love the new museum and look forward to visiting it.The cloud was hated by many and i for one was glad it was shelved.The waterfront is a fantastic place and dont let anyone tell you it isn't,Liverpool is back.
    30/6/2010 10:38 AM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    youngwing wrote:
    Definitely sour grapes. Mann Island is a disgrace thats true, but a giant car crash on the site of the new museum would have been just as bad.. the X museum is a great building. And if it's true money was taken away from Alsops project because of a funding shortfall in the Echo Arena project, so what? The Arena has done more for the city that Alsops junk would have. In 20 years it would have been taken down as an out of date eyesore anyway.
    30/6/2010 10:43 AM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    scousekraut wrote:
    I don`t know what the Cloud would have looked like, but I suspect that youngwing is right as most of today`s "star architects" seem to have escaped from a psychiatric ward. And I wouldn`t mind a little earthquake to get rid of that horrible black skiing slope by the Pier Head!!!
    30/6/2010 10:56 AM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    Tourman wrote:
    I did not like The Cloud, it was in the wrong place, nothing should have spoilt the view of the waterfront and we only have ourselves to blame for electing such councillors as Doreen Jones, who approved the Oil Drums. Silly Silly woman. Is it too late to demolish them or reduce the height by half?
    30/6/2010 12:03 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    AntiManq wrote:
    I quiet like the new buildings to be honest. I though the cloud was rubbish.

    I note the are knock down the old JMU Building on Clarence street and the building on the other side of the strand from Mann Island anyone know what is going in these places.
    30/6/2010 12:17 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    JanMolby wrote:
    I think we had a lucky escape from Will.
    30/6/2010 12:58 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    BigEnd wrote:
    It's not sour grapes as Will Allsop merely answered a question posed to him. He was also very generous in his praise of Liverpool and it's people. However he does raise important questions about what happened at Mann Island. The man who knows all the answers is Mike Storey, the councli leader at the time. He was also on the board of Liverpool Vision, NWDA and a trustee of the museum. How did the contract get conveniently put Neptune Development's way, and passed by Doreen Jones on a casting vote at the planning committee? The PR company October Communications are also involved. As for plaudits for the black coffins on Mann Island, anyone who thinks they deserve a place on our World Heritage waterfront must be living in cloud cuckoo land.
    30/6/2010 1:11 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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  2. JanMolby wrote:
    What Alsop seems to be saying is that noone wanted it.

    I agree.


    30/6/2010 1:18 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    bluetrig wrote:
    The new mann island buildings look horrible aswell as the livepool one studios and apartments, it already looks dated like some kind of old secondry school? Dont know about any of you but i like our waterfront but i hate they way we try to put it up there and compare it to the like on manhaten and shanghai, a bit embarrasing if you ask me.
    30/6/2010 1:58 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    jimbo58 wrote:
    It's all about opinion isn't it? Personally, I think the waterfront and surrounding area is great, especially considering what lay there 20-30 years ago. I also look forward to visiting the new buildings and getting on the river for a look too.
    30/6/2010 2:02 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    goldenf wrote:
    I think our waterfront still has a lot going for it, the space in front of the Liver buildings is a fantastic open space. Great contrasts between old and new.
    30/6/2010 2:38 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    tokenbrit wrote:
    For those who haven't seen the Cloud here's a link!

    http://images.icnetwork.co.uk/upl/icliverpool/jan2004/2/2/0008B13A-1840-1019-92CB80BFB6FA0000.jpg
    30/6/2010 3:19 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    steve64 wrote:
    I like the new museum and the buildings on Mann island.
    30/6/2010 4:24 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    Tony3 wrote:
    Totally agree. The Cloud would have been a world class addition to a world class site but- as per- Liverpool aimed for mediocrity and got it.

    No one other than us would allow the Mann Island apartments to be built in their current position, blighting the view of the Three Graces.

    It lacks vision and statement. The Three Graces are instantly recognisable as belonging to the City. The new Museum, a true carbunkle, could belong anywhere. It says nothing and is nothing. It lacks ambition and character- which does sod all to reflect the true spirit of Liverpool.

    Well said Mr Alsop.
    30/6/2010 4:28 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    gweedo wrote:
    it's prisons we need to build for our home grown scum the ones who grace the pages of this paper on a daily basis
    30/6/2010 5:40 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    gweedo wrote:
    it's prisons we need to build for our home grown scum the ones who grace the pages of this paper on a daily basis.
    30/6/2010 5:44 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    scousekraut wrote:
    Thanks for the link, tokenbrit. Now that I know what the Cloud was supposed to look like I can`t say that I`m sorry that it was never built. How many illegal pills does an architect have to take to come up with something like that?
    30/6/2010 6:51 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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  3. DTB wrote:
    I agree, the new museum is a blot on the landscape, it looks totally out of place, its a shame for the pierhead
    30/6/2010 9:34 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    ryan1 wrote:
    Negative the lot of you
    30/6/2010 11:01 PM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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    poshy wrote:
    i drove past mann island earlier this evening and was actually shocked...where has the view gone?????? unless black is the new 'view' it is horrible.
    1/7/2010 12:09 AM BST on liverpoolecho.co.uk
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