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February 05, 2004


Edmund Burke

Whatever proposal is finally chosen, Carlisle pier should be the natural home of the National Maritime Museum, and none of the other silly cultural ideas.
Regarding the architecture, I agree that none of the finalists are particulary inspiring. Surely a Victorian influence would have been more appropriate instead of lower Manhatten.

Frank McGahon

A Maritime Museum would be good, but so would an acquarium. The acquarium in Lisbon for the 1998 expo is quite spectacular.

As for the style: I don't know if it's lower Manhattan or just simple boiler-plate quayside architecture. I wouldn't agree with you on "Victorian influence" if you mean a literal pastiche. If you mean inspired by Victorian architecture and, more importantly, Victorian pier construction I'd readily concur.

I love both Brighton piers: the contradiction between the solid seeming forms and the elegant construction beneath which holds them aloft. When the west pier, now gone, was "unmoored" and derelict it had an even more tragic quality.

Abiola Lapite

Not too keen on Liebeskind, are you? What was your take on Norman Foster's entry for the WTC, by the way?

Frank McGahon

My problem with Libeskind is really a philosophical one about architecture and design, I just don't think he really knows how to design. Some of his buildings, rather like "hopeful monsters", turn out ok but that is despite, rather than because of, his philosophy.

Foster has created some great work and some fantastically bland work too. I think he handles transport buildings best of all. Stansted Airport was really great when it first opened but it has become a bit of a muddle, the train platform is still good. His tube station for Canary Wharf is also very good. I have never been to it, but I like his museum in Nimes. I was very disappointed by the bland airport-lounge-like quality of the British Museum courtyard: I had expected better.

As for Foster's WTC scheme, I am unmoved but it is better than Libeskind's. My preference was to rebuild the Twin Towers - and then knock them down!

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