The landscape of urban desolation which New Islington still remains as we plumb the depths of the recession has been recently complemented by the unveiling of Will Alsop’s long awaited CHIPS apartment building. Uncannily similar to the computer simulation produced as part of the marketing campaign, the project constitutes one of the fingers of Alsop’s 2002 masterplan for the Urban Splash development in East Manchester. The brightly-coloured reveals, the super-graphics and the waterside location will perhaps distract the architectural tourist from the brittle quality of the building’s construction. The bus stops are in place to ferry residents, but seven years after inception one would still have to be a very optimistic pioneer to invest your hard-won mortgage in this key example of contemporary urban anomie.
In an attempt to ameliorate an existing, historic and celebrated example of urban anomie (that’s enough anomie, Ed.) Urban Splash are also involved in Park Hill in Sheffield. A documentary about English Heritage’s role in the structure’s conservation will be screened on May 1 at 9.00pm on BBC2. Mayday! Mayday!