Sunday, 26 May 2019

The moment Manchester became New York

Historians will look back on the rapid transformation of the city’s skyline and debate the point when those towers started to change forever the character of Manchester.

The date it all began is also open for argument with some going for when Sunlight House was built, with others offering up the CIS building, and much later the Beetham Tower.

Of course the early 20th century saw the Refuge Building and before that the steady expansion of the Royal Exchange and earlier the new Town Hall.

But as big and magnificent as all these were, they were still on a human scale which can’t be said of those towers which dominate the skyline and can be seen miles away.

And I think Cathy Robertson has caught their overbearing presence.

Location; driving into Manchester

Picture; driving into Manchester, 2019, from the collection of driving into Manchester, from the collection of Cathy Robertson

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting comments Andrew, thanks for posting. When I hear the words "human scale" though, I am always confused. Yesterday I stood under the magnificent tower inside the Liverpool Cathedral and that certainly wasn't human scale, but that made it so wonderful. When I walk through the streets of NY, I don't think human scale, but the streets are lively and vibrant and the city is amazing. When I stand under the Sydney Harbour Bridge or Golden Gate, I am stunned by their presence, but they are not human scale, neither are the Alps when I walk through them. What we need in Manchester are areas with a vibrant street life - cafes, bars, restaurants, galleries, museums, residential and offices. These tall buildings help that by increasing the local density which is vital today to retain all of those things in a time when everyone can get everything cheaper by just staying at home. I guess my perspective comes from growing up in cities with skyscrapers so I have known them all my life. They have never felt oppressive, overbearing or too large, they have just been part of normal urban life.