I recently listened to a BBC Radio 4 feature called ‘Unbuilt Britain: Liverpool’s Other Cathedral‘ which tells the story of the renowned British architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens (29 March 1869 – 1 January 1944) and his never-built work, a cathedral of such magnitude and magnificence that it would have dominated Liverpool’s skyline and rivalled any around the world.
The cathedral was commissioned in 1930 and was for the most part to be funded by the working class Catholics of Liverpool’s growing industrial port. The cathedral plans were so ambitious however that even the finely detailed model was never fully completed.
Hearing the story of Lutyens’ cathedral brought home for me the pitfalls of allowing creativity and vision to override resource and circumstance and of taming an initial vision to a practicable size. The story is a poignant allegory of digital ‘cathedral’ making and a lesson in the timeless value of pragmatism when developing any architecture or space, even digital.