Report - - The Lowry Footbridge, Salford Quays - October 2011 | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - The Lowry Footbridge, Salford Quays - October 2011


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The Lowry Footbridge, Salford Quays - October 2011

Visited with NickUK and fishbrain.

After a relatively unproductive day looking for the original Holy Grail (which rumour has it resides in a Pottery in Stoke) we dropped off Xan Asmodi at the station and the rest of us made our way back to Manchester. The night wasn't as epic as we had first planned, but I had an awesome time meeting NickUK and hearing some of his anecdotes, having a kebab with comedian John Bishop and topping some of Manchester's little gems. Whilst we were out, NickUK took us to one of his most frequented sites, the Lowry footbridge.



Salford Quays originated as the Port of Manchester, although merchant shipping ceased to use the port in the early 1970's, for several years the site lay derelict until Salford City Council took the decision to implement a major regeneration project. Plans were made for the dock area to be redeveloped to provide a mixture of commercial, recreational and housing use. During the late 1980's and throughout the 90's there was major investment in creating a new infrastructure on the site.

Pier 8 of the dock area, fronting onto the Ship Canal, was selected as the site of a new cultural centre for the North West, which would house the works of local artist, LS Lowry, and provide a major venue for the performing arts. This development, known as The Lowry Centre, is located on the North side of the Ship Canal. On the south bank, directly opposite The Lowry, is the site of the Imperial War Museum for the North, and approximately half a mile to the east is the Old Trafford football stadium. These, and other major tourist attractions for the area, brought about the need for a footbridge, which would enable direct and convenient pedestrian access across the canal.

There's lot of information on the internet about the bridge and it's construction, most of which you can digest from here http://www.tatasteelconstruction.com/file_source/StaticFiles/Construction/Library/Bridges/Lowry Footbridge.pdf...

For now though, I shall leave you with some words from Owen Hatherley's 'A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain'... an hilariously bleak book on the questionable building habits that epotomised an age of economic greed and phony aspiration in the UK's towns and cities during The Blair Years.

Regardless of the straggling mess of much of the regenerated city, Salford Quays is where the icons are. Here is Britain's most sustained push for Bilbao effect, built on the site of the Manchester Ship Canal, a now useless but once technically astonishing feat of Victorian engineering that turned an inland city into a port.

Aside from Michael Wilford's messy but occasionally interesting Lowry, a building which is from some angles clumsy and straggling, in others sharp and striking; and Libeskind's minor but at least vaguely memorable Imperial War Museum North, my main thought was 'Wow, this is bad enough to be in Southampton'. The icons are a strange pair indeed, linked by an arched bridge, the cladding of both the Lowry and War Museum nodding with amusing blatancy at Gehry's Basque blob [referring to the Guggenheim Bilbao].

The BBC Media Centre is under construction [now built], and while it's nice to see it moving at least some of its functions from the over-favoured capital, it's moving into a securitized enclave in marked contrast with the way the Granada offices insinuate themselves unassumingly into the heart of central Manchester.

Looking out through torrential rain over the Manchester Ship Canal at this, the most famous part of the most successfully regenerated ex-industrial metropolis, I can't help but wonder: is this as good as it gets?


The Footbridge


Looking toward the Beetham Tower


SW Tower


BBC's Media City UK


Old Trafford


The Lowry

Thanks for viewing,

:Not Worthy
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