Modern Cities Need History And Style – So Let’s All Find Out How It’s Done
The strongly held views on Liverpool’s World Heritage Site and the Museum of Liverpool proposals have something to tell us about how we sometimes need to look beyond our own patch, to see what could or should be done. Perhaps ‘cultural exchange’ programmes within our own shores might be a start, so helping citizens to know each other’s towns and cities across the nation?
Lots of debate as usual about architecture and design, following the Heritage Lottery decision not to fund the Museum of Liverpool…. The views about the World Heritage Site and so forth have been interesting – as ever!
The last few days I’ve been in London with my family and, as it happens, doing the ‘visitor’ bit around the Tate Modern, the City, Covent Garden and Westminster. What strikes me so strongly is that most people in London don’t seem to have a huge problem about Big Buildings and Little Buildings, old ones and new.
The mix of old and new
Of course, ‘new’ buildings adjacent to ‘old’ ones (and they don’t get much more historic than some in the parts of London I was seeing) are often designed very well in a style which merges… but then you get the Gherkin. What an amazing construction! There’s St. Paul’s being done up, and behind it what you can only term a huge conical mirror. But I really don’t think it looks ‘wrong’.
In fact, one of the things that strikes me is how vibrant this miscellany of buildings, mile upon mile of them, is. Some young people I know who have moved to the Capital have actually chosen large drawings and (v dramatic) photographs of the Foster building and similar as the artwork for their own home…. and they’re exactly the sort of young professionals Liverpool would dearly have liked to keep here. But London offers so much more.
I definitely don’t think that all ‘modern’ architecture is appropriate wherever it’s put. It has to be excellent and well-positioned to earn its footprint. But I’d guess the folk in London are lucky in being (literally) more cosmopolitan in their approach; they’ve seen more of the world – in general, not all of them of course – than folk in Liverpool (again, in general). Expecting exciting and perhaps controversial architecture alongside a proper respect for the historic, and off-set by wide-open green spaces, probably goes with that wider mindset.
Where’s the wider experience and context?
When are we going to start to try to ensure that as many Liverpool people as possible have a wider context in which to judge their city? Isn’t it time actively to encourage people, young and older, to visit other places and experience (not just ‘look at’) other contexts, so that they can have a more broadly informed view of what goes on here, as well? It’s difficult to have a positive, balanced position when the basis of it is often so narrow, even perhaps parochial.
And is there something here for everyone? Would it be a good thing if we all tried to experience parts of the country outside our own patch? Never mind ‘foreign’ exchanges, worthy though these can be. What about learning more about where we actually live, as well?
Posted on January 26, 2006, in Arts, Culture And Heritage, Equality, Diversity And Inclusion, Liverpool And Merseyside, Politics, Policies And Process, Regeneration, Renewal And Resilience, The Journal. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.