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Welcome-Box

LOT-EK is a New York based architectural partnership founded by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, both of whom trained as architects in Italy. They have expressed a continuing interest in the reuse of of industrial containers and other existing structures, from petrol tanks to the fuselage of a Boeing 747, or, as in Welcome-Box – their new commission for the International 2002 – a sea container. On their first visit to Liverpool, Tolla and Lignano remarked on how the city reminded them of Naples – the faded glory of empire, but also the indelible mark of the sea. In response to the invitation to design a kiosk to provide information to visitors for one of a number of sites in the city centre, they chose a site guaranteed to be visible to every visitor arriving in Liverpool on an Intercity train: between platforms 7 and 8 at Lime Street Station. Their choice of a sea container from which to create the Welcome-Box seemed inevitable. Liverpool’s enormous wealth of listed buildings – overwhelmingly from the nineteenth century – sometimes appears to have a stifling effect on the production of new architecture of quality in the city. Sometimes planning regimes appear to sanction the creation of buildings of extremely poor design, provided they adhere to the material culture of the heritage context (‘build it in brick’). Italian architects and designers are leaders in the integration of good modern with a built environment far older than Liverpool’s; they have consistently shown how boldness and simplicity (with quality of materials) can provide a fitting contemporary sequel to any ‘heritage’ environment. In forming a ‘gateway’ with which to welcome visitors at Lime Street Station, LOT-EK’s playful and appropriate intervention demonstrates how a dynamic response to a functional need can provide an economical and memorable design solution to an environment already seemingly overladen with history. Welcome-Box contributes to the creation of an urgent debate around urban planning in Liverpool city centre, now in a frenzy of development. Lewis Biggs

Project Credits Courtesy LOT-EK: Ada Tolla, Giuseppe Lignano, Francesca Roatta Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art International Exhibition 2002 With support from: Eldapoint Ltd, First North Western and The Northwest Development Agency. With thanks to: LOT-EK: Ada Tolla, Giuseppe Lignano, Francesca Roatta. Thanks also to: Eldapoint Ltd, Sales and Manufacturing Division [Paul Wyatt, Technical Sales Manager; Neil Harvey, Project Engineer; Peter Brotherston, Ian Harper, Janos Papp, Fitters; Vinnie McNicholas, Sprayer/Fitter; Gareth Dring, Trainee Fitter]; Allan Wright, Paul Bunting, David Hook, First North Western; Andy Houston, Paul Moore and Roy Gregson, Station Managers, Lime Street Station, First North Western; Heather Summers, JST Mackintosh; David Peers, Steve Warbis, John Bradshaw, John Pengelly at Railtrack Plc; Billy Vickers, Customer Service Manager Merseyside, Virgin Trains; Paul Bullman and Iain Taylor, Walker Packman.

Date

14 September – 24 November 2002

Location

Lime Street
Liverpool
L1 1JD