The Wrestling Ring (Ringing Chamber)
The aesthetic and ideological tension between
modernism and traditionalism which has paralysed architectural debate
for a century is written into the very fabric of Scott’s building,
charting over sixty years his own gradual shifts from the High Gothic
of his father and grandfather to the technologically liberating materials
and techniques of international modernity. The vastness of the bell chamber
with its brick and concrete functionalism foreshadows Scott’s modern
masterpieces at Battersea and Bankside. The ringing chamber beneath it
however is a claustrophobic Edwardian space filled with riveted iron struts
and supports. A place of extreme physical exertion and coordination, evoking
an unregulated wrestling ring, or cock-fighting pit - a site for violent
and pointless struggle:
“For one night only Sir Edwin Lutyens bare knuckle fighting with the Mighty Smithsons. The Terror of Tblisi Berthold Lubetkin takes on The New Towns Commission, The Brown Field Barbarian John Prescott versus The Town and Country Planning Association for your entertainment…"
Scott the pragmatist was always more interested in the spaces his buildings created than questions of architectural form. His interest at Liverpool was the creation of an atmosphere for worship and this far outweighed the importance of a building that makes its statement from the outside. Scott recognised that the era of the community of craftsmen that was characterised by mediaeval cathedral building was gone. In the space of forty years from its commission, even the influence of Ruskin and the arts and crafts revivalist movement had dissipated and all but disappeared. These shifts: aesthetic, ethical and political are the basis for the installation Trans Mittere.