A CRUCIFIX-shaped skyscraper, which would be the tallest UK building outside London, has been earmarked for the Liverpool waterfront.
Architect Maurice Shapero has released new plans for the cross-shaped building on the site of the old King Edward pub, acknowledging it is “the symbol which references one of the ultimate places in human spirituality”. Something that former regulars of the pub, whose afternoon delights included strippers and all-day lock-ins, would undoubtedly agree with.
The building will be called The King Edward Tower, although all connections with the word Peel end there.
Instead, Shapero’s remarkable skyscraper is backed by Peter Buglass of the convivially named Custard Pie Properties which owns part of the postage-stamp site at the junction of The Strand and Leeds Street.
In January this year, proposals were put forward for the 199m-tall skyscraper, which would dwarf Manchester's whistling Beetham Tower by 31m. Then the building took the form of a shipping container.
But now Manchester-based Shapero has seemingly gone back to the drawing board. The 67-storey, mixed-use apartment and office tower scheme features a cantilevered restaurant – or as Shapero would have it “a horizontal element free from the tethers of ground”.
This creates the cruciform which, Shapero admits, could be contentious. But he says: “Should I be restricted from using it when it has come from my own investigation, imagination, conclusion?”
The restaurant would offer panoramic views of the city, including the, er, Panoramic restaurant in what is currently Liverpool's tallest building. Beetham's West Tower, over the road, is Lilliputian at only 90m.
Will it ever happen?
According to reports, the architect plans to submit a planning application for the building - which would be the fifth tallest in the UK - early next year and, somewhat crucially, “once funding issues have been resolved”.
'A balancing feminine gesture to its own relentless Yang'
Architect Maurice Shapero explains his thinking behind the crucifx-shaped King Edward Tower.
"The King Edward Tower has been refined away from the metaphor of the shipping container. A hangover inherited from a previous life, a good enough starting point, but one which didn’t sound very true.
Maurice ShaperoA single apartment footprint staggers in plan and extrudes upwards defining a commercially viable hulk, a hand with fingers. Each finger exudes a strong vertical elegance at odds with its real mass. At once expressing function, but in conflict with its true purpose - the age old tension between art and capitalism.
All this verticality needs a counter, it invites opposition. A horizontal element free from the tethers of ground. A balancing, feminine gesture to its own relentless Yang.
A dramatic cantilevered restaurant breaks the form high in the sky.
My favourite geometry - an intersection from opposite spatial directions - a Cartesian grid - the Cross.
I come to it from rational inevitability. Two of the three extreme dimensions of space.
The obvious question……this is the symbol which references one of the ultimate places in human spirituality.Should I be restricted from using it when it has come from my own investigation, imagination, conclusion?
Equally obvious is my answer, to me hierarchy and ownership are as illusory as everything else in this world."