IN OUR TIME'
By Mgr. Cyril Taylor
"-I AM delighted with the design. It is expensive
to hold a competition. In fact it has cost us thousands of pounds. But I consider it well worth every penny. Without the competition we could not have achieved this result."
Thus spoke Archbishop Heenan at the Press conference which introduced the winner of the Liverpool Cathedral competition. Mr. Frederick Gibberd, C.B.E., and displayed a model and perspective drawings.
More than 30 journalists attended the conference at the Ursuline Convent, Wimbledon, where the 298 entries there displayed had been judged by the assessors during the previous fortnight.
Liverpool Catholics share their Archbishop's delight. Primarily because they are assured of a cathedral by 1966. They see reality replacing the dream. A century of frustration has passed and the realisation of Dr. Downey's slogan of 32 years ago, "A Cathedral in Our Time" is approaching.
This was the sole talking point as groups gathered outside the
churches last Sunday morning. These are the folk who have given such loyal and generous support to a succession of four Archbishops in their efforts to provide a cathedral church in the past 40 years.
The competition closed on August 3 and the final decisions were made on the feast of the Assumption, August 15. The result came more quickly than was generally expected. It now appears that the winning design (No. 253) was decided upon quite soon, because, in the opinion of the assessors, it was clearly ahead of the field. The delay was caused in deciding the other two prizewinners and 18 others which called for special mention in an entry of exceptionally high standard.
The winner having been decided Continued on page 5, col. 4 See also page 7
`A CATHEDRAL IN OUR TIME'
Continued from P. 1
upon, the rules of the Royal Institute of British Architects require that he be sent for, sworn to secrecy and asked to produce a perspective drawing When Mr. Gibberd received word he was putting the final touches to his packing prior to a continental holiday with his family. Two hours later he would have been virtually inaccessible for days as he would have been touring somewhere in France.
Thursday of last week was agreed upon to release the news and 40 invitations were sent out to the Press, professional journals, radio and TV representatives. At the Wimbledon convent all the designs have been displayed. The
pretreated designs will be on view at The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London, W.C.1, from next Tuesday until Saturday, September 17. (Monday-Friday, 9.30-5 p.m., Saturday, 9.30-1.) Arrangements are being made for the designs to be shown in Liverpool.
THE design is modern and will contrast sharply with the sober gothic lines of Scott's Anglican cathedral a quarter of a mile to the south on the same eminence.
It is circular in shape with a conical copper roof surmounted by a tapered cylindrical tower of inch thick coloured glass set in
of Christ the King achieved by 16 pinnacles of cast iron surmounted by aluminium crosses rising to a height of 340 feet.
Entrance is gained at the south side through a pyramid shaped belfry tower, 112 feet high, having decorated copper doors electrically operated.
Within, the Derbyshire marble floor is dished down to a centrally placed High Altar basking in the brilliance of coloured light falling on it from the vast cone above. More than 3,000 seats with uninterrupted view surround it on three sides after the manner of a Greek theatre. No one is more than 70 feet away.
Round the circumference of the building, which has a diameter of 290 feet, there are grouped the Lady Chapel, the baptistery and eight subsidiary chapels. These are of different shapes to proVide variety for the exterior walls. The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is on the north side, behind the High Altar, and projecting on to the crypt piazza.
Sixteen reinforced concrete ribs projecting like guy-ropes at ground level are carried up over the copper roof and the coloured tower to form the frame of the building. Between the roof top and the 96ft. high towel is a concrete ring beam faced in sculptured bronze plates.
THE main challenge of the competition lay in wedding the existing crypt of Lutyens to an entirely new building. And this was made more difficult by the low price ceiling figure of one million pounds.
Mr. Gibberd has achieved this by extending the crypt piazza at the same level to form a platform for the cathedral. This is raised some 20 feet above ground level and the space beneath will provide obscured parking for one hundred vehicles. Access to the cathedral from the car park will he gained by electric lift and staircase.
In the view of the judges this design is full of imagination and powerfully expresses the Kingship of Christ. They comment: "The conception is itself of a crown and the suggestion of the crowning glory of Christ is revealed in the details of the building with logic and restraint. The whole space is dominated by the High Altar set in a generous sanctuary lit by scintillating coloured light from the tower. The plan meets all the requirements of the competition with deceptive ease. The extension of the piazza above the Crypt is a brilliant solution to the problem of establishing some sort of unity between the old and the new buildings."
Mr. Frederick Gibberd, a 52year-old Londoner is a Nonconformist. He is a town planning consultant, a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission, Central Housing Advisory Committee, and past principal of Architectural Association School of Architecture. He was awarded the C.B.E. in 1954.
He has erected buildings of various types, but has specialised in housing and civic design.
His principal buildings include: Nurses' Home. Macclesfield (won in open competition), Housing schemes at Hackney (Festival of Britain award, 1951), and Somerford estate, London Airport; plan for new town. Santa Teresa, Venezuela; Planner and Chief Architect for Harlow New Town.
This is his first ecclesiastical building. He is the author of "Town and Village", "The Architecture of England". "Town Design", and "Modern Flats".
He produced his design in three weeks after making hundreds of drawings and surviving on a continuous diet of sandwiches and coffee. The model and perspective drawings on display at the Press conference were assembled in two and a half days. He gave a firm assurance that building will begin next spring, will finish within five years and will cost no more than the million pounds allowed.
Author of the second design is Mr. C. H. R. Bailey of Kuala Lumpur, and author of the third prize-winning design is Mr. Arthur Bailey of London.