Author(s): Deirdre L.C. Hennebury
In 2015, Detroit was named a UNESCO “City of Design”and Liverpool, a “City of Music.” For Liverpool, thisaward marked the third in a series of commendationsfrom the UN’s cultural arm and the European community.In 2004, the city was inscribed on the UNESCO listof World Heritage Sites as a “Maritime Mercantile City”in recognition of its role in the development of a 19thcentury global trading network. In 2008, Liverpool washonored further as a “European Capital of Culture,” arebranding that emphasized the city’s cultural pedigreeover its industrial past. This paper examines the casestudy of the Tate Liverpool, an adaptive reuse projectcompleted by the architect James Stirling in 1988. TheTate initiative, though small in scale, was one of a seriesof public-private investments in the 1970s and 1980sthat galvanized the City of Liverpool into a reconsiderationof its heritage structures and their potential asincubators for a new, diversified economy that emphasizedculture. In terms of its architectural sensitivity,institutional dedication to cultural development, andthe public-private initiatives that made it possible,the story of the Tate Liverpool provides a pertinentexemplar for revitalization strategies in Detroit andother post-industrial cities where the historic, physicalidentity of the city can and should be leveraged inits continued renewal.
Luis Francisco Rico-Gutierrez & Martha Thorne