‘Crucifix’ skyscraper plans defended

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How the crucifix-shaped tower would appear in the skyline

Controversial plans for a new ‘crucifix’ design skyscraper which would become the tallest building in the city have been defended by its creator.

The unique design of King Edward Tower will be in the shape of a crucifix and the building would be named after the King Edward pub which previously occupied part of the site in Leeds Street.

Opponents have sharply criticised the scheme in local and national newspapers and Maurice Shapero, the architect behind the design, admits the scheme is set to divide opinion.

The skyscraper would replace West Tower as Liverpool’s tallest building, standing at 652ft, and it would also become the fifth tallest building in Britain. The 67-storey proposed tower is set to provide offices and shops, with a restaurant situated in the horizontal part of the cross near the top of the building.

Proposals were submitted in January, and Shapero intends to put forward a planning application for King Edward Tower early next year.

Shapero told JMU Journalism: “The only way to deal with controversy is to present the ideas and see how people react. Sometimes controversy can help galvanise a project into it being realised.

“It does raise a really interesting point that symbolism in architecture is much more powerful, in terms of what people get fired up about, than beauty or concept.”

“The design has been criticised in the local press for not having enough windows, but there are actually three or four floor-to-ceiling windows in each room, facing in different directions. I have resisted the all glass panoramic view which makes every apartment exactly the same.

“Liverpool can handle another surreal object, especially in that location, just the right distance away from the other monuments. [It’s] a conversation with the present… those old buildings are bored and crave a fresh dialogue.”

About Sophie Marsden, JMU Journalism