Vincent Harris Vigilantes Awake!

Rumours reach CiA of changes afoot in one of Manchester’s most significant pieces of urban design, Library Walk, which mediates between Vincent Harris’s pantheon-inspired Central Library and his rather more Scandinavian-classical Town Hall Extension. All potential VHV should be concerned because of

a) The crassness of the City Council’s stewardship of the city’s patrimony – as evidenced by the laughable application of No Parking signs to Harris’s gracefully austere elevations.


b) The previous vandalism visited on Harris’s Rates Hall in the Town Hall Extension “with the introduction of a burolandschaft office plan attemting to ‘humanise’ a previously clearly hierarchical space” (Canniffe & Jefferies 1998).

One might hope this robust but vulnerable example of municipal pride will receive the same sensitive treatment and restoration as Harris’s Sheffield City Hall, reinvigorated by Penoyre & Prasad, but one fears the worst…perhaps a Starbucks … or yet another branch of Kro?

So crucial is the ensemble of Harris’s buildings on St. Peter’s Square that it features in the central section of this film of the digital model of the city produced by Arup.

I feel a campaign coming on…

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