Yesterday I spent the day driving to Leeds and Manchester, my appointment in Manchester was in Salford Quays, a great example of urban regeneration.
As I finished my inspection at lunchtime I took the opportunity to go and have a quick look at the Lowry centre (and the Imperial War building across from it). I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast it with our own Nottingham Contemporary from an architectural point of view.
I am not a great fan of the Nottingham building, I believe it was a great chance lost to provide an iconic building for our city. The days of big schemes like this are over for some time to come, so we will have to ‘get on with it’ as a building. Don’t get me wrong, I love the internal gallery space, I just find the outside rather ‘hard work’.
So how do the Salford buildings compare? Well it is fair to say that they are both of a style common to their era – lots of shiny steel and curves! This is an architectural style that can work in some places better than others. In this case both buildings are next to water, and this sets them off nicely.
I did not have time to go over to the Imperial War building to have a look inside, so I can’t say how well that works as a building, but it is stunning from the outside!
I did however look inside the Lowry. It includes a cinema and food areas as well as the gallery for Lowry’s works. If I am honest it feels a bit ‘down market’, some areas are shabby and the gallery is very ‘cosy’ – although this does work well with the art on display.
My overall view? I like the external appearance a lot, but it doesn’t work as well inside as our own Nottingham Contemporary – perhaps our building is worth another look!