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Liverpool Biennial Project

Part 1 Project 2004
Claire Smith
University of Liverpool Liverpool UK
The Biennial Centre will be an exciting new addition to both the cityscape and arts infrastructure in Liverpool. The design accommodates and inspires a variety of users. The working artists, the biennial staff, the people of Liverpool and local or international visitors will all be enthused by using the building.

The layout of the building consists of a number of areas or zones, each with their own identity which is determined by location, geometry, materiality and spacial quality.

The design provides an inspiring, energetic environment for both artists and biennial staff to work within. Internally it allows for separation or interaction between the groups of users, and encourages public interest. Externally the design makes an interesting urban statement that compliments and respects yet contrasts with its surroundings. The building would create a memorable image that represents the biennial from a local to an international level.

Claire Smith


Clair’s design investigates both a theoretical and a pragmatic agenda. In setting out to create an arts building, particularly one with such a flexible programme, the architecture must provide other creative people with the intellectual and physical space to imagine. Her design confidently addresses the conflicting problem of open-ness within a defined, recognisable form. It utilises an orthogonal grid that is intuitively building–like, assembled in an intricate yet assured pattern of layered spaces, shapes and surfaces. A limited pallet of carefully chosen materials counteract the complexity of the form and accentuate its sculptural quality by allowing light, both natural and artificial, to take its place in the composition. The users of the building, visitors, workers and occupants, have different parts of the building they can call their own and these spaces are designed for change. To the passer-by this building has a wonderful, mysterious quality to it – clearly not a shop or an office or a gallery – something responsive to its purpose and the environment in which it is sited, something stimulating and thought provoking – an ambition it draws from the client.

2004
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