Thursday 9 May 2013

Mann Island Development

Situated between the Three Graces and the Albert Dock, the Mann Island Development is breathtaking. The three buildings are mixed use, predominantly residential, but the Open Eye Gallery is situated there as well.

They have a very sharp geometry of overlapping forms, creating valleys that frame views of the waterfront.

Like a lot of beautiful buildings that are modern, brave and innovative, they were not well received in some quarters. They have been called 'the three disgraces', 'coffins', and have been described as spoiling the waterfront. However, we need to remember that after all, one of the Three Graces, the Royal Liver Building was lambasted by Liverpool University professor of architecture, Charles Reilly at the time of its building: 'a mass of grey granite to the cornice, it rose to the sky in two quite unnecessary towers, which can symbolise nothing but the power of advertisement'.

Liverpool Preservation Trust made the following statement about the Mann Island Development: 'this is the biggest risk to Liverpool's skyline since Goering sent the Luftwaffe over in 1943'. Understatement, or what!

To those who want the world in general, and architecture in particular, to stay lodged in the past, to what is familiar and safe, Zaha Hadid's comment about buildings needing to 'respond to their immediate urban condition rather than blending in', is very apt.

Made of black glass, the architect had the dock water in mind, wanting the building to reflect that. As for the geometry of the buildings, 'that comes from the docks'.

Reflection, reflection, reflection.

Regular readers, or should I say viewers, of this blog will know that I have a 'thing' about reflections, and this building afforded so many interesting ones, that I could not stop photographing it. I have tried to limit the number of photographs, but there are still too many, I know.

These buildings literally shimmer, reflecting Liverpool's past and pointing to its future.

On the left, on the ground floor is the Open Eye Gallery.

Sharp, angular, geometric.

How can anyone think this is an eyesore?

This side reflecting the Port of Liverpool building.

A last photograph taken from the Mersey ferry, the Museum of Liverpool the other modernist building on that part of the waterfront.


  1. These photos are stunning
    Really stunning..
    Maybe your best

    I am booking my trip to Liverpool now

    1. Thank you cinnamongirl - as always, your comments are so nice and kind.

      I loved Liverpool - it's a great city, with lots to see and do. The architecture is stunning, both old and new.

  2. I just realised....
    It's the juxtaposition of old and new as well as
    the reflections...


    1. Both old and new blend in together beautifully - the city is stunning.

  3. and one last thing..

    Does it have to be clear, blue skies?
    What's it like in cloud...grey...dark...?

    and can I use these in my blog....?

    1. Of course you can use the photographs.

      As for the clear blue skies, the weather was so awful two weeks before when we went to Dublin, that we deserved some good weather.