While recently in Liverpool shooting a new nightclub, I had some spare time so decided to visit the recently-opened Museum of Liverpool. Yes, the £72 million project that has been universally decried by critics as a carbuncle on Liverpool’s amazing riverscape. In fact, it was shortlisted in last year’s annual Carbuncle Cup award organised by Building Design magazine. It was pipped to the post by Salford’s MediaCityUK development.
I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
And boy, isn’t the exterior of the building a disappointment? Yet because of its dramatic lines and swooping walls, it’s hard to take a photograph of it that makes it look bad. Some buildings work better in images than in the flesh, surely getting all the priorities wrong – especially when the project is a public building.
Surrounding the building are endless ramps and steps. They don’t seem to lead anywhere, as the entrance is at ground level. And the green glazed balustrades look really clumsy. Yuck.
Danish architect 3XN designed the original scheme, who got fired and subsequently sued by client National Museums Liverpool (NML). It was was then delivered by UK practice AEW Architects. According to the Liverpool Echo, AEW are also involved in a bitter dispute with NML over a series of alleged design faults including collapsing ceiling panels and unworkable external steps and terraces.
I’ve not been keeping tabs of the legal disputes, but suffice to say it’s a troubled project. However, it does seem to have proved a hit with visitors. If you haven’t been – and you don’t live there – Liverpool itself is an amazing city and well worth a visit.
All photos taken handheld with my Canon 5d mark II plus 24mm and 45mm shift lenses. So there!