beetham tower manchester

Manchester has come some way since the 1996 Arndale IRA bombing: the vanguard of the renewed heart of the inner city is still led perhaps by Ian Simpson’s Beetham tower. Having worked with Norman Foster, Simpson is a challenging architect – many read this soubriquet as “ugly and arrogant – a glass and steel-merchant”.

This interview with the ex-Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam, part of the BBC’s Changing Cityscapes series, makes some good points about the building’s now iconic status. It again raises the long-going UK post-war debate surrounding modern architecture’s agenda to annoy – Haslam is positive, if not exactly elated, by the change of mood that the totemic pinnacle creates in the visual background. With its – to my mind – Antony Gormley-influenced profile, and checkerboard graphic faces, it’s one of those buildings that, Janus-faced, affects our emotions depending on time of day, weather, mood.