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Diversity and Homogeneity - A Mixed Use Scheme for Liverpool Baltic Triangle

Part 1 Project 2009
Rachael Barker
University of Liverpool | UK
City centre apartment living for British families is rare. Liverpool city centre has currently a surplus of 1-2 bedroom flats. How can this housing type so common in European cities, work successfully in British city centres?

This scheme investigates how a site situated between the Baltic Triangle and the edge of the city centre can encourage families into apartment living through the use of social spaces, which can be used throughout the year despite the harsh climate of the Mersey Estuary.

Two blocks containing diversity in accommodation, sit cloaked by a homogenous glass skin. Viewed from the outside the mass associates itself with Liverpool’s dockland heritage, whilst in section the scheme reveals itself as a series of internal spaces for social interaction and activity – enclosed and protected from the wind and rain. The ‘urban street’ provides a model for the internal elevations and central hall, establishing a sense vitality and place. An urban garden on level 7 allows space for play and relaxation with a view to Albert Dock. Level 10 houses a swimming pool that overhangs the urban garden, providing a certain theatricality.

Six plan types based on contemporary family models and lifestyles are freely dispersed throughout the two blocks. A glazed brick infill system on concrete frame gives a different brick patterning for each plan type. The glass louvred outer skin provides a buffer zone and ventilation strategy whilst providing an acoustic barrier along the busy road of the north façade. Heavy inner structure and exposed thermal mass reduces heat gains and losses

Rachael Barker

The final, semester-long project in the undergraduate programme at the University of Liverpool was for the design of a mixed-use development on a site in central Liverpool. The brief required the provision of 50 three- or four-bedroom units, a gymnasium, 10 workshop units, retail premises, residents car parking and bicycle storage. The living units were to be larger and better appointed than the developers' standard provision in response to the plethora of one- and two-person apartments from which Liverpool now suffers. The building was to promote a sustainable agenda and to respond to current Building Regulations and Health and Safety legislation.

Students were asked too use a brown-field, corner site with a large C-19 brick warehouse and a featureless, commercial hotel on the adjacent plots. Facing the site to the north, across Liver Street, is the John Lewis multi-storey car park (Wilkinson Eyre, 2005) and beyond that Liverpool One. Across Park Lane to the east is a development of suburban-scaled houses built in the 1980s as part Councillor Derek Hatton's housing programme, and there on the opposite corner, the site of the student's previous project, a Workshop Theatre. In developing this new project, the students were working in an area with which they were already familiar and responding to a building of their own design, the theatre.

Students worked in one of four tutorial groups with extra technical support in structures and construction. Each group, while following the same brief, set their own agenda with the result that there was a wide range of interpretation across the Year. The final presentation required the development of the building at 1/100 or 1/200 scale, as well the investigation of a semi-public space, such as an entrance hallway, at 1/50 scale and the provision of a technical study strip-section at 1/20.


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