The tight, inner-city site, surrounded by existing dwellings and retail units and bounded by two key conservation areas in Liverpool was formerly used as a multi-storey car park. The constrained footprint versus the client’s brief led to a ten-storey perimeter design and an undulating site with a central courtyard that acted as an external student amenity space. The choice of materials varied for each elevation and they were sympathetically selected, under close scrutiny of the planning authority, to complement the architecture of the surrounding conservation areas. The façade includes significant articulation including deep window reveals and successive step backs towards the top of the building to help reduce the overall mass and scale of the project.
The superstructure of the building is an in-situ concrete transfer slab at low level, with a lightweight steel frame forming internal load-bearing partitions up to the roof. This construction methodology allowed the speedy erection of floor plates and saved a significant period in the programme by delivering a floor plate every four weeks. The design team utilised Revit software, working in a BIM environment, to produce federated models. Clash detection reports were regularly run to highlight any co-ordination issues between disciplines, especially in co-ordinating recessed M&E items against lightweight structural wall studs. This process allowed the build to be clash-free and fully co-ordinated from the outset.
The project includes a number of communal student spaces with cinema, games and quiet study spaces with exposed concrete soffits and exposed services distribution routes. The ground floor communal space has sliding folding doors which link the central courtyard to inside spaces, no doubt contributing to the overall student appreciation for the new facility.