Norman Foster is vying with Will Alsop in the competition to secure one of Britain's most fascinating urban architectural commissions – a fourth Grace to sit near the Liver Building on Liverpool's Mersey waterfront.
The two architects are ahead on a shortlist of four from which municipal leaders will pick a winner today. The design by Lord Foster of Thames Bank is the people's favourite. That leaves members of the Liverpool Vision regeneration agency with a dilemma: to go with public opinion or follow their own instincts and back Mr Alsop's radical plans, which are least popular among Liverpudlians.
Opinion among the city's architecturally enlightened decision-makers is that Liverpool must "go for it with Alsop" for their new urban history museum.
That view is supported by a technical group that marked the four bid documents on more than 30 criteria. Mr Alsop's ranks highest with his proposals for a 10-storey "Cloud".Lord Foster's glass-covered "Liverpool Ark" is the most conservative but locals liked its lack of extremity and thought it "messianic".
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