Mancunians got a preview of phase two of their city's £100m Great Northern regeneration scheme last week as the first stage of the project was formally opened.
When complete, the 4ha site will form a link along Deansgate between the developments around the g-mex such as the new Bridgewater Hall and the Stephenson Bell-designed Manchester Convention Centre now on site, and earlier developments of the Castlefield area of the city.
The 50,000m2 complex at the heart of the Great Northern includes refurbishment of one of Manchester's landmarks, the Grade II listed Great Northern Railway Company warehouse. As well as an amphitheatre, the scheme incorporates a new public square, concept-designed by som, where even the trees are cuboid. The development, by Merlin Morrison, is the largest in the city.
On the Peter Street edge of the site the wraps have come off the delicate three-storey wedge-shape pavilion by Leslie Jones Architects, destined to become another fashionable Bar 38 for brewing giant Scottish & Newcastle. Leslie Jones is also the architect for the GN Tower, a 12-storey, 11,200m2 office building due for completion in March 2001.
RIBA 'should require original architect to be consulted'
Pimlico School architect John Bancroft wants the riba's code of conduct to require that the original architects are always consulted if changes to their buildings are proposed by other practices.
For two years Bancroft has been fighting Westminster City Council proposals, designed by Ellis Williams, to demolish and replace Pimlico School. He wants the riba to recognise 'spiritual ownership' and a legal obligation to consult original architects, as in some countries on the Continent.
Bancroft has lobbied former riba president Owen Luder, who has had his buildings altered without consultation, and spoken to Sir Phillip Powell, whom Bancroft says agrees with the move and has 'suffered' regarding the 'completely ruined' Mayfield School. A more recent example of the problem was at Churchill Gardens, where a third of the windows in the scheme were replaced 'disastrously'.
Luder told Bancroft that the riba's code of conduct was more relevant to the issue than anything within the remit of the arb, on which he sits. Bancroft now plans to approach institute president David Rock and incoming president Marco Goldschmied.
Luder told the aj that while he agreed with the 'sensible' move in principle, it would be difficult to enshrine in law and if it was acted upon by the riba it would only concern 'members of the club'. The best thing to do was to 'make public the benefit of going back to the original architect, because they know the building'.
He added that he has had buildings 'totally mutilated' - one 60s office building 'covered with Disneyland clip-on plastic', another in Bromley demolished - and that often newly appointed practices only approach the original architect to obtain original drawings. Luder's Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth is still standing and he says there is considerable local pressure to have it listed, but the council wants it demolished.
Other famous cases of changes being made to buildings where the original architect is still alive but was not consulted include Sir Denys Lasdun's Grade II* National Theatre (aj 18 April 1996), where £42.2 million worth of renovations were undertaken by Stanton Williams. More happily, Lasdun was given the opportunity to extend his celebrated Royal College of Physicians in London.