Saturday, 3 October 2009

Beetham tower, Manchester

The Beetham tower in Manchester is a controversial subject for residents of the city. Many think it's imposing height is at odds with the low lying city, others say it's design bears no relation to the other buildings in the area, and it is ruining the area by ruling over it, an alien invader.
However, viewed in and of itself, the tower is an impressive object. Everyone seems to have a different reaction to it. Some are made anxious by the way the heavy top floors overhang the lower floors, it's lopsided bulk worryingly precarious seeming. Personally I think that it's simple yet remarkable shape is good design, and the wonder invoked when considering the engineering work involved in building such a structure solidly is a sign that the architect has done a very good job.
What is beautiful about it to me is the way that the huge flat panel it embodies reflects the Manchester skies, the bright blues to the stirring greys that I love dancing in a towering block of ice.
The placement of the building is something I have trouble justifying though, and it seems disrespectful to the buildings in it's shadow, the G-Mex centre and the Haçienda apartments neé nightclub, the former recognised as good historical design and the latter a source of revolutionary design.

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