The opening exhibition, ‘Liverpool(e): Mover, Shaker, Architectural Risk-Taker’, celebrates Liverpool’s long, often maverick, history of architectural ambition, its willingness to take risks and consider audacious schemes – a trait which has ultimately resulted in the dramatic and celebrated skyline we see today.
A £67,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded thanks to National Lottery players enabled 30 drawings, models and watercolours from the RIBA Collections, many of which have never been on display before, to be restored to feature in the opening exhibition. They include extraordinary un-built proposals for the city’s Anglican Cathedral by Sir Charles Nicholson and Philip Webb; a radical scheme, by Sir Denys Lasdun from 1959 for the Catholic Cathedral site and a bold vision for a new skyline by Graeme Shankland from the 1960s after two thirds of the city’s buildings were declared to be obsolete.
Visitors can watch a newly commissioned film which reflects on the buildings which were realised, and considers how the city may evolve if it embraces its historic architectural ambition. The film includes interviews with Joseph Sharples (author of the Liverpool Pevsner City Guide), Michael Wilford (Stirling Wilford Architects), Natalia Maximova (Sheppard Robson) and Ian Ritchie (Ian Ritchie Architects).
During the run-up to the exhibition RIBA North worked with PLACED to deliver a 4-day workshop for 14 - 19 year olds which would see the participants interpret the content of the exhibition to produce a magazine. This magazine can be downloaded below and helps explain the exhibition to young people with the aim of encouraging them to visit the exhibition.