Thank you to everyone who sent me the link to Andrew Gilligan’s column about the Cutty Sark winning Building Design Magazine‘s coveted Carbuncle Cup for this year’s Worst New Building in Britain, beating off stiff competition from the ArcelorMittal Orbit (a construction even its designer hates) and the Titanic Museum in Belfast.
They point to the ghastly glass lifts and viewing pods ‘punched’ through the hull, the still-worrying decision to raise the ship on stilts so they can put a corporate function suite below and the bog-awful lift-tower outside, none of which I can argue with.
There’s no doubting that this has ended up as a Disney version of the old ship and it is a bit of a shock if you’re not expecting it.
There are myriad ways that they could have done it better.
Call me old fashioned but frankly I’ve always thought that just restoring her as best as possible to what she would have looked like when she was launched, without all the clumsy modern parapehnalia (especially in that lift tower – I find it hard to imagine how anyone could make glass look clumsy but somehow they’ve managed it…) I’ve not visited the SS Great Britain’s restoration yet, but that’s the sort of thing I was hoping to see on the Cutty Sark (and that was in a much worse condition – my Dad, when he was a kid, lived down the road from the bloke who cut a massive hole in the iron hold so he could use it as a sheep-pen and they’ve even managed to deal with that).
But in some respects I’m just glad to have her back – after that fire (a criminal piece of negligence on the part of someone, who doesn’t appear to have ever been even ticked off) I honestly thought she’d just be carted away, like the Gipsy Moth – the other ship we couldn’t be trusted to look after. She may not last long on those stilts but we do have her for a little while yet.
I have to disagree with Gilligan on one thing though – call me a silly, shallow, fluffy Phantom but I adore those fairy lights; they make me smile every time I see her all lit up. And however much I hate the idea of her being hoisted up on poles, this view is rather good:
the attachments to this post: