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The North of England and Scotland are home to some of the most famous buildings, statues and architectural creations in the UK and in some cases, the world. And whilst we love spending time wandering our cities and counties to take in the delightful views, what if things were a little different?
What if Edinburgh Castle was designed by a different architect? How would it appear if Barcelona’s most famous creator, Antoni Gaudi got his hands on it? How would Liverpool Docks look if Andy Warhol’s work wasn’t just inside Tate Liverpool but adorned the outside of the docks? And how about Leonardo Da Vinci getting his creative hands on the Angel of the North?
In this series, we’ve reimagined ten famous buildings and iconic landmarks and questioned what they would be like if designed in the style of some of the world’s pioneering artists and architects. Well wonder no more.
While the Albert Docks has its fair share of modern art within the walls of Tate Liverpool, if the renowned pop art pioneer Andy Warhol would have had his way the outside walls of Liverpool’s world famous docks would be adorned with the loudest block colours and vibrant palettes. Warhol’s works explore the relationship between artistic expression, advertising and celebrity culture, with his most famous pieces including Campbells Soup Cans and Marilyn Diptych. In this re-imagining of the docks in Warhol’s style, Campbell’s-esque lettering comes to the fore as does his signature use of block colour and repetition.
When walking through the streets of Barcelona, it’s impossible to ignore the influence of Antoni Gaudi on the architecture of the city. But what would Edinburgh’s most famous landmark look like if it were designed by the Spanish architect? This re-imagined version showcases Gaudi’s free-flowing style and the influence of nature on his work. Borrowing from his most famous (and yet to be finished) architectural vision, La Sagrada Familia, you can see the gothic influence but presented in a form beyond recognition, in just the way Gaudi always intended. How do you think the Scottish public would take to the new look?
Originally born in Hungary, Marcel Breuer first made his name as a furniture designer, crafting two of the most important chairs ever. But after basing himself in New York he found his signature architectural style becoming one of the world’s most popular architects in the 20th century. His bold imposing Bauhaus architecture is all about geometric forms, function and directness. While Leeds Town Hall in its current guise showcases the best of Gothic influences, if Breuer were the architect we would see it take on a much more geometric form in the style of one of his most famous buildings, the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Tower currently stands tall above Manchester city centre shimmering in the sun and reflecting light from its countless glass panels. But not if Modernist Movement pioneer Le Corbusier had turned his hand to the original design. Le Corbusier is famed for his style known as New Brutalism which used rough, heavy forms of stone, concrete, stucco and glass. In this reworking of Beetham Tower in Le Corbusier’s style you can see his love of block shapes and dashes of colour that bring a little brightness to the brutalism. Do we think the residents of Manchester would take to this in the same way they love the iconic Beetham?
The Russian painter and art theorist, Wassily Kandinsky is credited as being the pioneer of Abstract Art. Kandinsky believed that abstract colours and forms can be used to express the inner-life of the artist. And here’s just what the Humber Bridge would look like if it was recreated to showcase the inner-life of Kandinsky. Just a little more abstract that in its current guise, with the bright bold colours inspired by his paintings such as Composition VII and the structure of the bridge’s girders pulled into more abstract lines made famous by Kandinsky in such works as Composition 8.
If you head to Royal Exchange Square in Glasgow you’ll find the celebrated Duke of Wellington Statue in all its glory. And if you’re lucky you might just see it with a small addition from one of the locals. The placing of a traffic cone atop the Duke’s head is a common practice in the city, but imagine if the Surrealist hands of moustachioed marvel Salvador Dali got his hands on it? That’s exactly what we’ve done here. Most-famous for his 1931 painting of melting clocks, the Persistence of Memory, Dali would no doubt go for something a little more outlandish to place on the Duke’s head. And while he’s previously opted for angels riding snails, of course he’d switch out the Duke’s horse for an elephant.
Frank Lloyd Wright was a visionary architect that always brought American architecture to the fore, influencing both the outside and inside of his buildings, perhaps most famously the Guggenheim in NYC. His creations were always influenced by nature, emphasising craftmanship and ensuring architecture was accessible to all. Our re-imagining of York Minster in his style borrows elements from some of his most famous buildings, notably Fallingwater and the Jacobs House, in the use of brickwork and natural materials. Would his version of York Minster become another one of his buildings to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Louis Kahn was one of the greatest American architects of the 20th century. After years in the industry he finally found his signature style in his 50s, where he combined Modernism with the weight and dignity of ancient monuments. So, whilst the original Gothic style of Durham Cathedral might be more Hogwarts than modern, if Kahn were to design it he’d be taking things back to ancient citadels with a modern twist. In this re-imagining of the great cathedral you can see the brickwork combined with triangle and circle shapes made most famous in Kahn’s work including the Indian Institute of Management and National Assembly Building of Bangladesh.
American artist Georgia O’Keefe did things a little differently. Recognised as a trailblazing artist and one of the pioneers of 20th century art, O’Keefe always played by her own rules. And you can see by our re-imagining of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge that things wouldn’t have been any different if she got her hands on this famous piece of architecture. She became famous for her paintings of nature and landscapes, using bright flowing colours to illustrate them in exactly the way they made her feel. Here you can see how her potential feelings towards the city would have come alive with bright swirling colours and the flowing nature of the bridge in its new form.
What didn’t Da Vinci do? The Italian was a polymath of the Renaissance era that turned his hand to whatever took his fancy whether drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, engineering and pretty much everything else. What he didn’t do unfortunately was design the Angel of the North. But what if he did? Well here’s what it would look like in his individual style. Obsessed with proportions and angles, Da Vinci would bring a more human form to the angel much in the style of his Vitruvian Man. And there’s one thing you can be sure of. Those wings would be perfectly in proportion.
So, while we can dream what these landmarks, statues and buildings could potentially look if designed in the style of true pioneers of design, art and architecture, they’re true masterpieces in their own right and there’s nothing like getting out and appreciating them in person. And with TransPennine Express you can explore the very best of Northern England and Scotland and take in these wonderful sites whenever you want.
Concept art and animations by THIS IS RENDER: www.thisisrender.com