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Beauty or Beast: Cesar Pelli's One Park West Liverpool


Later today (19 August), Cesar Pelli’s 17-storey ‘flagship’ residential building at the heart of the Stirling-shortlisted Liverpool One masterplan will be given a group hug

The huggers want to show that, despite the recent nomination for an architectural wooden spoon and for generally ‘getting it in the neck’, there are people who still care for the 326-apartment, boat-shaped block. So who’s right?


Speaking about the scheme, Pelli said he wanted to ‘to create a modern, striking building, a memorable place to live, with exceptional view of a wonderful waterfront and park’. Meanwhile Guy Butler, senior development manager at project backer Grosvenor, described the prowed block as a ‘building design which has really stuck its head above the parapet and has, without a doubt, vastly improved an area of our city centre which was formerly wasteland.’


David Dunster from the Liverpool School of Architecture said it boasts ‘one of the nastiest looking pieces of standard office glazing since Britain was bombed by the Luftwaffe; and cheap.’ He added: ‘The prow can only be a ghastly reference to Liverpool’s maritime past and conclusive evidence that all architects should be banned from the use of metaphor, simile or metonymy in the next 100 years at least.’


Readers' comments (20)

  • Wasn't this meant to be much taller? Like the Gherkin, they both would have looked better and more elegant if they'd been a third higher

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  • Toad. Won't turn into a prince by being hugged and kissed.

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  • The Nomination came from The Liverpool Preservation Trust. This was the original site for Steers Dock reported as the first purpose built dock in the world. This was also the site of the bomb damaged and ill fated Customs house by John Foster Jr of which the loss Gavin Stamp laments far more eloquently than I can in his recent book. We in Liverpool are fed up with crude architecture being throist into a WORLD HERITAGE SITE just imagine if this was to be built alongside the Taj Mahal or the Pyramids,
    I personally objected to the proposals at the planning meeting where Rod Holmes of Grosvenor said and I quote "This proposed building pays homage to the classical orders". Huh!
    The original masterplan for a Grosvenor-pool showed a 12 storey structure and not as Grosvenors agents would portray that this building has been reduced in size.
    The site just cannot stand this 1960s Technical College on speed approach.
    They promised us Iconic and delivered Ichronic. Just what where English Heritage and the DCMS who are supposed to be protecting world heritage doing.
    Promising us world class architecture they said they were to give a building by world class architects a Cesar Pelli.......and instead have delivered us a Ceasar Salad.
    A Carbuncle that we have to live with......and its almost empty as proof of what the public think.
    I used to be proud of the architecture in my city until the carpet bagging meglomaniacs arrived and sarted binge building..only now we are waking up with a hangover. I personally hate this building.

    Wayne Colquhoun

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  • It is wrong to describe the former Chavasse Park as wasteland. This area was dedicated to double VC winner Noel Chavasse, one medal posthumously. The park provided much needed open space in a crowded city.
    One Park West has no architectural merit. Why would anyone reasonably wish it to be 10 storeys higher adjacent to a World Heritage site ? If we want to labour the maritime metaphor the Titanic springs to mind. The group hug is a desperate PR stunt - are they looking for the lifeboats ?

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  • I like the picture. It shows one of Liverpool's famous historic beauties apparently sticking up two fingers at this beast. Got it in One.

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  • Its design is pretty average, can be designed by anyone and can be built anywhere. I'd say an opportunity has been wasted, for whatever reason.

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  • Looks dated before it's even occupied. The choice of glazing is appalling.

    "Pelli said he wanted to ‘to create a modern, striking building"

    What he wanted and what was built are two very different things.

    To say a building is better than wasteland is hardly a compliment, and in this case, I'm not sure it is true.

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  • modern yes, striking, not in a very good way. to be fair and frank the building could have been a much better design and I'm sure the budget for this building was pretty decent.

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  • Boats that are that shape sink.

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  • Please dont forget that there has been another nomination for this archiectural wooden spoon which is a previous Beauty or Beast debate in AJ and that is the Terminally ill Ferry Terminal building in Liverpools waterfront Pier Head.
    That is what you call architectural speaking shooting oneself in the foot but where was English Heritage and CABE when these plans were proposed.
    What avout next years awards when the god-awful New Build on Mann Island and the out of keeping museum comes on stream.

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