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Mysteries of Europan scheme in Liverpool

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News of the green light for Liverpool's Europan scheme (aj 4.12.97) I found of special interest, since ten-storey Coronation Court, my first big job, features prominently - and, thanks to the architectural upgrading by the winners, looks terrific!

However, on reading the text puzzlement crept in. aj 4.6.96 announced the competition success as being shared between Hans van der Heijden and Rick Wassel, young Rotterdam architects, but now van der Heijden alone enjoys the honour! I wonder why?

The dynamic architecture produced obviously depends upon the effect of suspending five full-length covered-access galleries at a distance clear of the building and projecting overall about 3.5 metres. However, on careful consideration of their function I find that they would save residents not living on floors 2, 5 or 8, the present access balcony levels, from negotiating one flight of stairs to get home! Considering they will require the services of Ove Arup, and may even create a light and vision hazard for the residents, they may well be too high a price to pay even for architecture of this quality.

As for the 'Cramped Heartbreak Hotel' bit - it's a mystery! I experienced nothing but hospitable enthusiasm when invited there to unveil a plaque commemorating the block's 40th anniversary. 'Carnival' is how I would describe the occasion, culminating in a conducted tour round the immaculate flat of a proud resident who, like 17 others, had lived there happily from day one.


Poole, Dorset

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