Is it time to show some love for Liverpool’s ugliest buildings? After all, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Here’s our seven for starters – all with hidden beauty, if you know where to look. What’s yours?
Royal Sun Alliance Building
It looks a bit like a Minecraft version of the Liver Buildings (it’s supposed to: it’s a Brutalist ‘response’ with its twin peaks) and it’s probably the most divisive tower in town. We happen to love the Royal Sun Alliance’s ‘sandcastle’ building. Now called the Capital Building, it’s replete with Minority Report style elevators (no buttons. They just sort of guess where you want to go).
Someone loves it. Downing paid £51 million for it eight years ago, but plans to change the drab brown concrete cladding have yet to materialise.
The building was part of the ‘walkways in the sky’ idea – with access on level one for pedestrians lifted above the car-only streets (hence the reason you have to get two escalators to reach reception). The views from Liverpool Vision’s tenth floor eyrie, though, are really something.
Interesting fact: The building uses water that seeps into the Merseyrail tunnel. The water is pumped out of the tunnel at a near constant 12C. A heat pump using thermal storage uses this water to heat and cool the building, giving minimal energy usage.
Merseyside Police HQ
Interesting fact: The John Lewis Q-Park was forced to erect opaque screens when it was pointed out that users (suitably fitted with a pair of Swarovski 10×50 binoculars) could see the police at work/or not.