Liverpool(e): Mover, Shaker, Architectural Risk-Taker

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
©RIBA Collections

Liverpool(e): Mover, Shaker, Architectural Risk-Taker at RIBA North, Waterfront 17 June — 16 September 2017 Entrance is free

Liverpool is a city that can be read like no other as a living, breathing encyclopaedia of British architecture. There’s something for everyone: from lovers of the Greek revivalist spirit of Neoclassicism to the dripping elegance of the Art Deco period or stark 1950s Brutalism. Its grand Georgian buildings capture the complex story of the city’s rapid transformation into an international trading port and troubled role in the expansion of the British Empire (through slavery). While the unorthodox appearance of the iconic Metropolitan Cathedral led to its local nickname: ‘The Pope’s Launching Pad’.

But how has Liverpool’s unique appearance been shaped, and how else might it have looked? These are the intriguing questions asked by Liverpool(e): Mover, Shaker, Architectural Risk-Taker – the opening exhibition at RIBA North, a new national architecture centre on the Liverpool Waterfront. Celebrating the city’s distinct architectural ambition and history, the show features over 30 original drawings, models and watercolours dating from the 1700s onwards that together form a series of remarkable designs that were never realised.

Among the highlights are Sir Charles Archibald Nicholson’s alternative vision for the now much-loved Anglican Cathedral, featuring a series of unusual transepts that radiate outwards in the shape of a flower. Graeme Shankland’s radical reimagining of the city’s skyline after two thirds of its buildings were declared obsolete during the 1960s. And Stirrat Johnson Marshall’s plans to introduce a towering Gothic viaduct over St James’s Cemetery. Many of the drawings are on display to the public for the first time, accompanied by a newly commissioned film that considers how the city may evolve in the future, and an interactive 3D Digital City Model.

The award-winning building that houses the new centre is itself appropriately situated on the Liverpool Waterfront – its rather ‘Marmite’ 21st century design striking a bold contrast nestled amongst the UK’s largest concentration of Grade I listed buildings. With the level of development in the area recently drawing some controversy (and placing its current World Heritage site status under threat), RIBA North seems to have opened its doors to the public at yet another pivotal moment in the city’s architectural history.

RIBA North also features a permanent display about Liverpool’s architectural past, present and future in its City Gallery, and will host a rotating programme of exhibitions, talks and tours going forwards.

Liverpool(e): Mover, Shaker, Architectural Risk-Taker at RIBA North, Waterfront 17 June — 16 September 2017 Entrance is free

Where to go near Liverpool(e): Mover, Shaker, Architectural Risk-Taker

City Centre
Restaurant
Etsu

What Etsu sushi restaurant in Liverpool lacks in marketing skills, it more than makes up for in Japanese cuisine.

Liverpool
Restaurant
Silk Rd

Silk Rd Tapas serves up delicious Mediterranean small plates, named after the Silk Route, an ancient network of trade routes, bringing spices and silks.

Waterfront
Café or Coffee Shop
Royal Liver Building

An iconic landmark, the Royal Liver Building was one of the first multi-storey buildings made using a steel-reinforced concrete structure.

Afternoon tea at Oh Me Oh My
City Centre
Café or Coffee Shop
Oh Me Oh My

A secret space and tea room, Oh Me Oh My lives in the stunning surrounds of Liverpool’s West Africa House. We take a look.

Photo of a stained glass window showing the word 'Surgery'
City Centre
Bar or Pub
Jenny’s Bar

Jenny’s Bar is hidden away on Fenwick Street in Liverpool. Descend a staircase from what looks like a fish restaurant, and you’ll find a bar in two parts.

Waterfront
Museum
The British Music Experience

It’s a discotheque for the senses, an incredible collection of artefacts and memorabilia, audio guides, music and stories. There are iconic costumes worn by David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Dusty Springfield, the Spice Girls and Adam Ant, and musical instruments played by some of the world’s most renowned artists from Noel Gallagher to the Sex Pistols.

What's on: Visual Arts

life drawing
Until
ActivityManchester
Life Drawing Manchester

Whether you have never put pencil to paper or have been honing your artistic skills for years, Bee Creative studio runs life drawing sessions for people of all abilities.

from £10

Culture Guides

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Cinema in Manchester and the North

From the latest installment in the Mad Max franchise, to silent movie masterpieces we highlight the best new releases and big screen classics showing near you this month.