In a business environment where many would have us believe nothing is being built, there are quite a few decent openings this year.
We've already enjoyed the completion of the Sharp Project in Manchester and of course Media City's BBC North offices this year. The latest in a good line of North West newcomers is the Museum of Liverpool, which opened this week.
A few points from a personal perspective about this: firstly I need to eat – as is en vogue – some humble pie on this one and admit I was wrong. I badmouthed the concept for years as an unnecessary vanity trip by the people at National Museums Liverpool following the demise of the Fourth Grace project, which would have partly occupied the site as well as Mann Island next door. In its finished state it's an elegant addition to the skyline. It would have been taller without the planning restrictions set by World Heritage Status, currently under review by Unesco, but what has been delivered is a sleek and classy building fit for the site.
For those that haven't visited, I hope you catch it on a sunny day when the sun reflects off the Mersey like a golden 'snowstorm' on the giant end window viewable from the Albert Dock.
Secondly, I was dismayed but not altogether surprised to see the Museum of Liverpool nominated for the Carbuncle Cup, a dubious title awarded to the worst building of the year by Building Design magazine. Also on the list are Peel's Media City UK, Artisan's apartments at Kings Dock, Liverpool and the Mann Island development by Neptune and Countryside, also on the Liverpool waterfront.
Whilst reluctant to criticise another publication or editor, let alone a fine national title well respected by architects, it seems a rather jaundiced and snide feature. I'm sure it generates great publicity (here we are) and readership but Cups celebrate things. This does not. At best the Carbuncle Cup is a backhanded celebration of good design by criticising bad design. It's a subjective thing but it gives me a bad taste all of its own.