In the latest issue:

Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz

What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn

Kaiser Karl V

Thomas Penn

The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall

Social Mobilities

Adam Swift

Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali

What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud

Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade

C.J. Sansom

Malcolm Gaskill

At the British Museum: ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’

James Davidson

Poem: ‘The Lion Tree’

Jamie McKendrick

SurrogacyTM

Jenny Turner

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

‘Trick Mirror’

Lauren Oyler

Diary: What really happened in Yancheng?

Long Ling

At Salford QuaysPeter Campbell
Close

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website (www.lrb.co.uk — hereafter ‘LRB Website’). These terms and conditions apply to all users of the LRB Website ("you"), including individual subscribers to the print edition of the LRB who wish to take advantage of our free 'subscriber only' access to archived material ("individual users") and users who are authorised to access the LRB Website by subscribing institutions ("institutional users").

Each time you use the LRB Website you signify your acceptance of these terms and conditions. If you do not agree, or are not comfortable with any part of this document, your only remedy is not to use the LRB Website.


  1. By registering for access to the LRB Website and/or entering the LRB Website by whatever route of access, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions currently prevailing.
  2. The London Review of Books ("LRB") reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time and you should check for any alterations regularly. Continued usage of the LRB Website subsequent to a change in the terms and conditions constitutes acceptance of the current terms and conditions.
  3. The terms and conditions of any subscription agreements which educational and other institutions have entered into with the LRB apply in addition to these terms and conditions.
  4. You undertake to indemnify the LRB fully for all losses damages and costs incurred as a result of your breaching these terms and conditions.
  5. The information you supply on registration to the LRB Website shall be accurate and complete. You will notify the LRB promptly of any changes of relevant details by emailing the registrar. You will not assist a non-registered person to gain access to the LRB Website by supplying them with your password. In the event that the LRB considers that you have breached the requirements governing registration, that you are in breach of these terms and conditions or that your or your institution's subscription to the LRB lapses, your registration to the LRB Website will be terminated.
  6. Each individual subscriber to the LRB (whether a person or organisation) is entitled to the registration of one person to use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site. This user is an 'individual user'.
  7. The London Review of Books operates a ‘no questions asked’ cancellation policy in accordance with UK legislation. Please contact us to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund for the cost of all unposted issues.
  8. Use of the 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is strictly for the personal use of each individual user who may read the content on the screen, download, store or print single copies for their own personal private non-commercial use only, and is not to be made available to or used by any other person for any purpose.
  9. Each institution which subscribes to the LRB is entitled to grant access to persons to register on and use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site under the terms and conditions of its subscription agreement with the LRB. These users are 'institutional users'.
  10. Each institutional user of the LRB may access and search the LRB database and view its entire contents, and may also reproduce insubstantial extracts from individual articles or other works in the database to which their institution's subscription provides access, including in academic assignments and theses, online and/or in print. All quotations must be credited to the author and the LRB. Institutional users are not permitted to reproduce any entire article or other work, or to make any commercial use of any LRB material (including sale, licensing or publication) without the LRB's prior written permission. Institutions may notify institutional users of any additional or different conditions of use which they have agreed with the LRB.
  11. Users may use any one computer to access the LRB web site 'subscriber only' content at any time, so long as that connection does not allow any other computer, networked or otherwise connected, to access 'subscriber only' content.
  12. The LRB Website and its contents are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that all intellectual property rights including copyright in the LRB Website and its contents belong to or have been licensed to the LRB or are otherwise used by the LRB as permitted by applicable law.
  13. All intellectual property rights in articles, reviews and essays originally published in the print edition of the LRB and subsequently included on the LRB Website belong to or have been licensed to the LRB. This material is made available to you for use as set out in paragraph 8 (if you are an individual user) or paragraph 10 (if you are an institutional user) only. Save for such permitted use, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt such material in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department.
  14. All intellectual property rights in images on the LRB Website are owned by the LRB except where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited. Save for such material taken for permitted use set out above, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt LRB’s images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department. Where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, reproduce or translate such images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. The LRB will not undertake to supply contact details of any attributed or credited copyright holder.
  15. The LRB Website is provided on an 'as is' basis and the LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website will be accessible by any particular browser, operating system or device.
  16. The LRB makes no express or implied representation and gives no warranty of any kind in relation to any content available on the LRB Website including as to the accuracy or reliability of any information either in its articles, essays and reviews or in the letters printed in its letter page or material supplied by third parties. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) arising from the publication of any materials on the LRB Website or incurred as a consequence of using or relying on such materials.
  17. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) for any legal or other consequences (including infringement of third party rights) of any links made to the LRB Website.
  18. The LRB is not responsible for the content of any material you encounter after leaving the LRB Website site via a link in it or otherwise. The LRB gives no warranty as to the accuracy or reliability of any such material and to the fullest extent permitted by law excludes all liability that may arise in respect of or as a consequence of using or relying on such material.
  19. This site may be used only for lawful purposes and in a manner which does not infringe the rights of, or restrict the use and enjoyment of the site by, any third party. In the event of a chat room, message board, forum and/or news group being set up on the LRB Website, the LRB will not undertake to monitor any material supplied and will give no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability, originality or decency. By posting any material you agree that you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is accurate and not obscene, defamatory, plagiarised or in breach of copyright, confidentiality or any other right of any person, and you undertake to indemnify the LRB against all claims, losses, damages and costs incurred in consequence of your posting of such material. The LRB will reserve the right to remove any such material posted at any time and without notice or explanation. The LRB will reserve the right to disclose the provenance of such material, republish it in any form it deems fit or edit or censor it. The LRB will reserve the right to terminate the registration of any person it considers to abuse access to any chat room, message board, forum or news group provided by the LRB.
  20. Any e-mail services supplied via the LRB Website are subject to these terms and conditions.
  21. You will not knowingly transmit any virus, malware, trojan or other harmful matter to the LRB Website. The LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website is free from contaminating matter, viruses or other malicious software and to the fullest extent permitted by law disclaims all liability of any kind including liability for any damages, losses or costs resulting from damage to your computer or other property arising from access to the LRB Website, use of it or downloading material from it.
  22. The LRB does not warrant that the use of the LRB Website will be uninterrupted, and disclaims all liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of access to the LRB Website being interrupted, modified or discontinued.
  23. The LRB Website contains advertisements and promotional links to websites and other resources operated by third parties. While we would never knowingly link to a site which we believed to be trading in bad faith, the LRB makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind in respect of any third party websites or resources or their contents, and we take no responsibility for the content, privacy practices, goods or services offered by these websites and resources. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any damages or losses arising from access to such websites and resources. Any transaction effected with such a third party contacted via the LRB Website are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by the third party involved and the LRB accepts no responsibility or liability resulting from such transactions.
  24. The LRB disclaims liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred for unauthorised access or alterations of transmissions or data by third parties as consequence of visit to the LRB Website.
  25. While 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is currently provided free to subscribers to the print edition of the LRB, the LRB reserves the right to impose a charge for access to some or all areas of the LRB Website without notice.
  26. These terms and conditions are governed by and will be interpreted in accordance with English law and any disputes relating to these terms and conditions will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  27. The various provisions of these terms and conditions are severable and if any provision is held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction then such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the remaining provisions.
  28. If these terms and conditions are not accepted in full, use of the LRB Website must be terminated immediately.
Close
Vol. 24 No. 20 · 17 October 2002
At Salford Quays

Daniel Libeskind

Peter Campbell

A couple of miles from the centre of Manchester, on the bank of the Ship Canal, the Imperial War Museum North stands – all bright in gleaming aluminium. A new pedestrian bridge crosses to it from the Lowry Centre’s agglomeration of theatres, galleries, shops, restaurants and bars. Old Trafford, the Manchester United football ground, is a few hundred yards away. On the tram ride out you pass building sites and the gaunt trusses of an overgrown railway bridge. Although the museum that Studio Libeskind have designed is no longer the newest, and was never the toughest or largest piece of architecture in sight, it has an authority the others cannot match. The Lowry Centre glistening on the other side of the canal – it, too, is clad in silver – looks, by comparison, a muddle.

Imperial War Museum North

The museum is visually complicated. Only as you walk around it do you come to understand how one part relates to another and to appreciate its sculptural coherence. A model perhaps – something you could take apart and turn about in your hand – would let you understand it all at once. Daniel Libeskind says that the design is ‘fundamentally based on the contemporary world shattered into fragments and reassembled as an emblem of conflict’. In practical terms this means that three ‘shards’, bits of a fractured globe, are arranged to make the three parts of the building: you start with ‘wind’ (an entrance tower and viewing platform); go on to ‘earth’ (the main exhibition space); and finish with ‘water’ (the restaurant, which looks out over the canal). No wall makes a right angle with any other and there are points from which it is not easy to follow the geometry of the curved metal-clad surfaces. I am tempted to read the way the outer walls follow the acute angles of a Vauban bastion and the inner ‘silos’ (which house thematic displays) the twists of Great War trenches as a commentary on military engineering. But even the plan is really much closer to the abstract language of Russian Constructivism than to the geometry of 17th-century fortifications. When you begin to walk about, it is Tatlin’s tower, agitprop and pavilions for world fairs which come to mind, not bunkers.

The tower, which rises over the entrance space, is generous and full of daylight. Once inside, you can see the armature which supports the aluminium cladding and the viewing platform. Looking up, you are reminded of a cathedral crossing. Stairs then take you into the primary exhibition space, as shadowy and dim as a Romanesque nave. Here the curved ceiling is covered with long angled strips of artificial light: the visual equivalent of the strips of windows in Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin. Despite some major hardware (a suspended jet fighter, a Russian tank) it all seems rather empty until, on the hour, you are warned that the lights are going down and that loud noises will follow. Fifteen minutes of commentary and projected pictures then fill the air and cover the walls – sometimes repeating the same image (poppies, for example) all round, sometimes mixing them. In between times you can attend to the chapel-like silos. Displays of relics, labels and wall-writing point not just to violent, odd or outrageous things, but to the benefits which sometimes follow a war – the NHS has its own show cabinet. At this point you may begin to feel a dissonance between the building and its use: to find that the rhetoric of the architecture and of the sound and light show which justifies its darkness, scale and arrangement is out of step with the dispassionate analysis of war and of the sadness of death and destruction which the Museum’s content examines without dramatic flourishes.

It is not small, but the kinds of building it relates to are architectural pavilions, buildings built for the sake of building: summerhouses, follies, memorials, structures which offer the pleasures of an architecture tied to no important purpose. Bramante’s little Tempietto, a chapel too small to hold a congregation; Burlington’s Chiswick House which was, Lord Hervey said, ‘too small to live in and too large to hang to a watch’; or Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion for the Barcelona Exhibition of 1929 (an exhibition building in which nothing was exhibited): all survive in histories of architecture and in the buildings they influenced while the picnics, ceremonies, receptions and propaganda they contained are forgotten. It is in this spirit that the Serpentine Gallery has commissioned the pavilions which have decorated its front lawn for the last three years – it was Libeskind who designed the one for 2001. They are playthings in which architecture achieves the irresponsibility and autonomy of art. But Libeskind is serious even in his play. Marc Schoonderbeek, in a statement which heads a Libeskind website, says: ‘In his view architecture is seen as a spiritual domain, a realm that cannot be visualised, an area of invisible presence since it deals with the unspeakable. Without spiritual content and without a contribution to a deeper understanding of our Being there can be no significance in any building.’

A building which has ambitions like these can be in competition with what goes on in it – can even make the intended use seem redundant. The Berlin museum has won high praise from people who visited it before anything was installed. The commentary of the sound and picture show I wandered through in Manchester was disinterested and calm – which is the Imperial War Museum style. But the big, blurred picture projections lack the specificity an original photograph and caption give. The architecture demands a kind of display which is at odds with the tone both of the words and of the spirit of the institution. Instead of ‘contributing to a deeper understanding’ the windowless space becomes oppressive.

Libeskind has proved that expressive architecture is possible, that you can make wonderful buildings which do not feel empty even when there is nothing in them. But, sitting in the ‘water’ shard, my mind wandering around the concept of a fractured globe, I wondered – as I watched the ducks and took my tea – if it wasn’t a bit like picnicking on the Cenotaph.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.