The Salford Quays are being billed as the new cultural centre in Manchester. That’s where the Lowry theatre is, it’s where the fancy new Imperial War Museum North is, and it is pretty darn close to that football stadium, Old Trafford, and that humongeously big shopping centre, the Trafford Centre. I’ve taken some pictures to illustrate the fancyness of that area.
Main entrance of The Lowry
The Lowry seen from across the Manchester Ship Canal. You can’t see it from these pictures, but despite the apparent fanciness of this building, the interior is done in the most hideous purple-and-orange colour scheme that you ever saw. The whole of the main theatre is purple: Walls, carpets, chairs, everything.
The bridge crossing the Canal, connecting the Lowry with the Imperial War Museum (and the Peel Holdings building, pictured – Peel Holdings controlled most of the traffic on the canal, and set about turning the area into this fancy thing).
Ah, the Imperial War Museum North. Designed by famous architect Daniel Libeskind – also known for the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the 9/11 Memorial in New York. Apparently, the idea is that the three arches represent war on land, on sea and in the air.
The Trafford Centre is a truly amazing place. Built to resemble a late 19th century World Exhibition, it contains an incredible range of fake scenery. Apart from the New Orleans-inspired food court, and the China Town inspired ditto in each wing, there is is this really big open space meant to look like the sun deck of an ocean liner, complete with fake swimming pool and proper dance floor where lots of 60-somethings enjoy a bit of Foxtrot on a lovely Thursday afternoon. The shopping mall aesthetic is taking to an extreme (I hope), and it really begs a question or two. I recommend Mike Davis’ City of Quartz for an examination of the rise of the Shopping Mall, though not of the actual aesthetics used.
Finally a couple of pictures from a recent sunny day in Manchester.
(This final picture is scaled down, and can be downloaded and used as a background merely by right-clicking (unless you’re using a Mac, of course 😉 )