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Architectural heresy.


THIS may translate as the cranky mumblings of an old fogey swathed in twirled tweed but, pray tell -if you'll pardon the obvious alle gory -what is afoot up at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King?

Clearly, vast vaults of doubloons have crossed many needy palms to give the old chap's rather shabby exterior a bit of spit and polish, although it's likely the building won't be up for an ancient monument award until the 27thcentury,if it's still there. Now,breathe deeply in the pews there,don't go flinging your catechisms around in a rage, that's only a wee jest.

Back to baff lement,as if eternity wasn't, the buckaroos with spades and sledgehammers have certainly got stuck into the job with gusto.

The once bland approach from the aptly named Hope Street has been transfo rm ed into a splendiferous vista of grand sweeping steps leading the eyes -and the legs,for that matter -up towards heaven. And there is even a kind of religious tuck shop where memorab ilia and adornments to confirm one's passions can be purchased. Although,as memory serves, didn't theSon of God hand out a jolly good thrashing to those folk genuflecting bef ore Mammon?

And a splendid licensed restaurant boasts tasty Italian grub, which in view of the Cathedral's Roman provenance is rather neat.

That's by the bye, so keep your bonnets on andlet's cut to the chase. The Cathedral now looks terrific . .. well,almost.

Trundling up Brownlow Hill in my ba ttered brown brog ues -the mark of a kosher fogey,if you'll once again ab solve the term -I was eagerly anticipating the sparkling new view But bef ore my eyes,as I sauntered by the weary and worn facade of the ab and oned Irish Centre, sprung up a stark skeleton of iron girders,flanked by concrete plinths: an apparition blocking out the marvellous stairway and even the imposing towers of the Cathedral.

This monstrosity is to be a science park,comprising boring blocks. Excuse me! Slap bang alongside one of Liverpool's arc hitec -tural talking points. Now,like most folk cantering into their dotage,I am inclined to rail against change for its own sake,but persuaded to go along with council leader Mike Storey, a chap determined that Liverpool becomes a vibrant, exhilarating,futuristic city.

This will enhance the legacy glorified in the antici-pated World Heritage status this summer.

Chatting with the lo qua -cious architect KenMartin,it seems others harbour that dream of a modern,dynamic city spiralling up into the sky -like the Cathedral -with state of the art buildings,glorious towers and edgy architecture. Hopefully,Liverpool is getting bac

the architectural nerve displayed by its Victorian fore bears .Or is it?
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 3, 2004
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