Not Christmas Shopping at the Museum of Liverpool

Museum of Liverpool

Museum of Liverpool

I carefully planned my time and recently put a day aside for Christmas shopping. This was to be an expedition to Liverpool city centre to finally begin to tick off presents for people on my list. No I’m not being organized, not at all, more like planned chaos and panic. All late and not very many good ideas.

I set off with thoughts along the lines of ‘why do we do this to each other every year’ and ‘this is madness, I’ve no idea what to get so-and-so’ and I’m really too busy for all this… You get the idea. At least it’s not Christmas Eve and buying what’s left at the local all night garage. Not quite.

On the drive in to Liverpool it was mutually decided that we (my wife was with me) couldn’t face the city centre after all and so we headed for the Albert Dock instead with the idea we could combine shopping with a visit to the Tate to see the Alice in Wonderland exhibition currently showing.

Walking through the Dock after parking up and putting the dread of paying the parking fee later to the back of my mind we looked across at the Museum of Liverpool. Now, we both wanted to visit the new museum, but we simply hadn’t had the time. (Being self-employed can make time management difficult). But we thought, now or never, and headed over to the sparkling ultramodern structure.

The museum was designed by the Danish practice 3XN and the exhibition areas by the Los Angeles-based exhibition and theme park designers BRC Imagination Arts. (Not much local talent there then).

Rowan Moore of the Observer had this to say back in July:
How can this have happened? How could so many positive words – “regeneration”, “vision”, “culture” – plus so much public and private funding, plus so much scrutiny by bodies such as the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, have led to what now stands on Liverpool‘s waterfront? How could so many noble titles – Unesco world heritage site, capital of culture, the “Three Graces” – have been bestowed on what is, to use a sophisticated critical term, a godawful mess?

If you want to read the complete review go here.

I’ve lived in Liverpool all my life and the ‘Three Graces’ are simply beautiful, but I don’t find the new Museum of Liverpool a ‘godawful mess’ (possibly the black structures nearby maybe).

I realize that the finished design is not exactly as 3XN would have wanted it but looking at their website they are certainly proud of the end result. There is no intention to compete with the ‘Three Graces’ and the structure remains firmly in it’s own space and it’s own century.

The museum was a pleasure to explore and the light and views from the huge windows at either end of the building very much bring the outside in and almost become part of the exhibits themselves.

A view from the Museum of Liverpool

A view from the Museum of Liverpool

The interior is a little dumbed down but not excessively so and there is a great flexibility built into much of the interior space.

Outside the light sparkles off the materials used and although the landscaping remains unfinished the potential remains for an impressive visitor experience.

Fitting well into it’s allotted space the Museum of Liverpool tells a positive, uplifting story of Liverpool despite the city’s varied fortunes over the years.

Wall painting

Wall painting

I for one enjoyed the my visit and driving back I realized that I still had my Christmas shopping to do… Oh well, there’s always the all-night garage.

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Filed under Architecture, Liverpool

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