Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Looking To The Windy City

Belated thanks to Wayne for  emailing a link to a blogpost by Cllr Malcolm Kennedy which attempts to liken the city to Chicago (http://malcolmkennedy.blogspot.com/2011/06/chicago-our-kind-of-town.html ).
Well, why not? We've had Oldham Hall Street drawing parallels between Liverpool & New York on numerous occasions (something I could judge for myself when visiting Manhattan last December (http://condensedthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/12/unwanted-legacy.html ), &, yes, Times Square did remind me of Church Street on a Saturday afternoon). Moreover, Grand Central Station compares favourably to our own wonderfully-revamped Lime Street.
Far more grittily & unfavourably, of course, mention has been made of cities like Detroit & Baltimore in connection with Liverpool, particularly when you venture just a short distance outside the bubble of the city centre.
Cllr Kennedy mentions the Liverpool Waterfront Architecture Festival, which ended the day before yesterday. He goes on to declare:
"The opening of the Festival took place on Mann Island in what is a quite marvellous space between the two controversial black granite facia-ed (yes, granite!) buildings developed by Neptune. Everybody will have their own opinion on the buildings and the impact they have on the views of the Three Graces but one body has already made its view plain by taking space in one of the buildings."
The body? The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). As Tom Lehrer observed when Henry Kissenger won the Nobel Peace Prize in the early 70s, satire has expired. No flowers by request.
Kennedy talks of palling around with the Regional Director of RIBA, Belinda Irlam-Mobray, adding the observational gem, "She wants to see architects and architectural enthusiasts engaging more with the public."
Don't we all. Perhaps then we would have been spared the grotesque additions to what UNESCO are still calling a World Heritage Site. Perhaps, too, NML would spare us their pathetic PR stunts (http://blog.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/BeABreakfastBlogger.aspx ); bloggers welcome, are we? OK, Wayne & I will sign up for that slap-up brekkie at one of the Trashy Tarts on the waterfront (toast lightly grilled for me, thanks).
Intriguingly, Cllr Kennedy also a trip he undertook to the aforementioned Windy City: 
"Last November Belinda and her colleagues invited me to join them in a visit to Chicago to see how the Chicago Architecture Foundation operates in that city. As their website explains, The Chicago Achitecture Foundation (CAF) 'is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public interest and education in architecture and design.' (http://caf.architecture.org/ ). CAF organises tours, exhibitions, debates, lectures, educational programmes and other activities as it seeks to advance public awareness of Architecture and Design. It provides a good model on which to build a Liverpool Architectural Foundation."
A few points to address here. Firstly, I presume the cost of Cllr Kennedy's generous invitation to head west was met from his own pocket. Perish the thought that CAF could be seen to be facilitating a rather tawdry civic junket. Secondly, the chunk of that quote about CAF's work is lifted verbatim from CAF's own website. Thirdly, if there is to be a Liverpool Architectural Foundation, how fitting that its acronym will be LAF. You are having one, aren't you, Malcolm?
Cllr Kennedy declares that the debate over the waterfront needs to be "enhanced by a more interactive process between the architecture profession and the public."
Amen to that, but, hang on, there's something about the use of the word "enhanced" which suggests the debate has been hitherto akin to a pub argument. No, it hasn't, Malcolm, & you know that full well. Wayne has obviously rattled you & your cohorts with his position, as consistently set out on his blog.
By the way, Cllr Kennedy is a fairly prolific Tweeter (http://twitter.com/cllrkennedy ). Drop him a line & let him know your views. I'm sure he'll appreciate it. After all, he does want "a more interactive process between the architecture profession and the public." 

No comments: