Archive for February, 2012

Barcelona Videos

February 19, 2012 1 comment

Short videos documenting a second year field trip to Barcelona. The first shows examples of culture along La Rambla, while the latter takes a video ‘section’ through the modern art (MACBA) district in Ciutat Vella.


Museum of Liverpool

Museum of Liverpool

Museum of Liverpool

Opened in 2011, the Museum of Liverpool occupies a prominent position at Pier Head, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The waterfront development represents continued regeneration work since the European Capital of Culture celebrations were held in 2008.

Danish 3XN Architects conceived the design from circulation routes across the docks, which then became sculpted platforms and  cantilevers. The site is adjacent to Liverpool’s Three Graces, Edwardian commercial buildings linked to the city’s maritime heyday, and is bordered by a connection to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Two large picture windows (28 x 8m) allow views in opposing directions; towards the Three Graces in the North, and Albert Dock to the South. At night, they appear as beacons, gazing out over Merseyside. Jura Stone is employed to clad the 2100 tonne steel skeleton. Landscaping attempts to create public spaces around the building periphery. Construction was directed by AEW Architects, Manchester. When the development opened, it was the newest purpose-built museum in the UK for over 100 years. The building provides a larger visitor capacity than the Museum of Liverpool Life, closed in 2006, and aims to attract 750000 visitors per annum.

Pier Head Regeneration

Pier Head Regeneration

Internally, exhibitions chart Liverpuddlian culture, sporting achievements and industrial heritage. Famous writers, performers, musicians, and artists feature in ‘Wonderous Place’, along with the development of Liverpool FC and Everton FC. Recognising Liverpool’s history as a port, a gallery covers trade, imports & exports and the Liverpool to Manchester railway. As an architecture student, it was also interesting to see a 1:48 scale model of Lutyen’s plans for Liverpool Cathedral. Completed in 1932, it took 12 craftsmen one year to complete just the exterior. The exhibitions have been criticised by some for providing a popularised narrative, offering few challenging topics. However, I would argue that the museum successfully uses modern technology to engage visitors, and the large interconnected gallery spaces allow a non-linear investigation of collections. Surprisingly though, a large proportion of the building footprint is taken up by circulation. A spiral ramp connects all floors. A spiral is also printed on the foyer floor, which is allegedly a reference to local prehistoric carvings.

The Museum of Liverpool is an iconic new addition to the city skyline, contributing to the eventual regeneration of Pier Head.


Superlambanana, sculptures created by artist Taro Chiezo to mark the Capital of Culture celebrations

Photographs taken 2011.

Salford Quays

Imperial War Museum North

Imperial War Museum North, Daniel Libeskind

Salford Quays forms one of the largest urban renewal projects in the Britain. The site is home to Imperial War Museum North, the Lowry Centre, and MediaCity.

The Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894, covering 35.5 miles and allowing vessels to reach the city outskirts. The canal was a terrific engineering achievement, enabling 12500 tonne vessels  miles passage from  the Mersey Estuary. At the advent of containerisation, industrial activity declined steeply, with the docks closing in 1982. Unlike Liverpool, the Manchester Docks lacked buildings of architectural merit or potential for conversion. Salford Council purchased 90 Hectares of dockyard, with a development plan for the area released in 1985.

Salford Quays

The Lowry Centre, Salford Quays

The Lowry Centre, a landmark arts and theatre venue, opened in 2000. Designed by James Stirling and Michael Wilford, the complex has over-tones of a liner, reflects the surrounding landscape and waterways. The building occupies the area of five football pitches, has several auditoriums and a gallery promoting the artist LS Lowry. Imperial War Museum North (Daniel Libeskind, 2002) represents a world shattered by war. The resulting shards, earth, air and water, house a large open exhibition space, cafe and 29 m high viewing platform. Collections chart military history from the First World War to the present day, including Iraq and Afghanistan. The Big Picture Show is a film projected throughout the gallery at regular intervals, providing a different perspective on the personal impact of war.


MediaCity, Salford Quays

MediaCity UK is the result of an ambition to make Salford a centre of excellence for the creative industries and digital media. The principle occupant is BBC North, which attempts to readdress the southern bias of program production. The new centre opened in 2011 and will create 2300 jobs. BBC Sport, BBC Breakfast, Children’s content, Radio 5 Live, BBC Learning and Future media are all departments that have moved to the three buildings leased by Peel Media. Programmes such as Match of the Day, Blue Peter and Dragon’s den are now made at BBC North. The project cost under £200 million, and includes outdoor event’s space for 5000 people.

Mark Radcliffe and Stewart Maconie are two of the new tenants at MediaCity. The much-loved broadcasting duo moved to digital radio station 6Music in 2011, and began presenting the afternoon show. We are regular listeners in the University of Edinburgh architecture workshop!


Robert at MediaCity UK

New Website

Edinburgh New Town
Edinburgh New Town

As part of my efforts to find a job placement during 2012, I have travelled around Manchester and Liverpool. This is an active way to contact architectural practices, and allows me to explore more of Britain’s largest cities. Stay tuned for articles on Salford Quays and Liverpool Museum.

Earlier this week, my new website launched at featuring university projects, sample work and contact information. Please have a look and email me for further information.