Peckham Library - Stirling Prize Winner 2000
fierce competition from the likes of Sir Norman Foster, Sir Richard
Rogers and Edward Cullinan, the Alsop scheme was chosen to sit
alongside the existing Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings.
The trio have become symbolic of former maritime wealth and civic
pride throughout the cash-strapped 1980s.
won the Building of the Year award in 2000 for the striking, stilt-walking
spaceship that is Peckham Library, Alsop's designs punctuate a
global landscape with colourful, eye-catching yet practical alternatives.
such as the Ontario College of Art & Design (a checkerboard
monolith that hovers between Toronto streets and sky, supported
by giant, rainbow knitting needles) provide a welcome foil to
the drab sameness that swamps cities in a slurry of grey concrete
and dull brick.
can see from history that we [architects] have the capacity to
make life really miserable, and we've had enough of that thank
you," says Alsop amidst the bustle of his Battersea studio.
of the future esplanade
there are some, and I hope I can count myself among them, that
actually bring a little joy and delight into the world."
describing the development process Alsop insists upon involving
local community members from the earliest stages through to completion;
young and old, although a minimum drinking age may be required...
or beer are usually involved, as is painting, drawing, describing
and listening to each other," he says with a smile, eager
to massage thoughts and opinions from his partly-pickled contributors.
At least it makes a change from a suggestion of truth-or-dare.
outside the Fourth Grace
try and create a sense of being at a party.
seems to me that what you build is the result of a process, and
if the process is boring, the results are going to be boring.
If it's exciting and enjoyable, then you might end up with something
the basis of this argument it would seem the citizens had a ball
if what Emma Bockes writing for The Guardian describes in awestruck
tones as a 'diamond knuckle duster' is anything to go by.
it's bold, in-your-face and nothing like the more ornate neighbours.
But without brave and arguably beautiful projects such as this,
cities wither and die.
impression of Fourth Grace interior
change and possibility are the lifeblood of any metropolis.
rejecting this for a mock-Tudor vision of Britain, composed of
miniature St Mary Meades (home of Miss Marple), not only will
murder mysteries reach epidemic levels but Liverpool will lose
out to Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and the punchbag that is
are cities committed to a new architectural rennaisance led by
landmark projects such as this.
don't think any other city in Western Europe declined to the same
degree as Liverpool," says Alsop of the economic and cultural
stagnation to afflict the region in recent decades; now finally
on the turn.
you take the peak of its history, its extreme wealth and civic
pride, all of those things which it had... to fall to such an
extent was a scandal."
course Liverpool is doing well - compared to 20 or 30 years
of complete rubbish."
here to listen
practice is currently involved in the large scale redevelopement
of huge swathes of the Northern England. Bradford city centre
is about to combine an unrivalled, classical heritage with a dramatic
step toward achieving urban vim. A manmade lake, no less!
Barnsley is queuing up for a new slap of warpaint, although city
planners are erring over Alsop's typically exuberant proposition:
to recreate an Italian hill town including inhabited 'city wall'
of a mile-and-a-half circumference.