Two Liverpool buildings have been recognised nationally for their architectural credentials.
The Society for Construction and Architecture in Local Authorities (SCALA) award ceremony highlights excellence in design and construction across the UK and Liverpool Central Library and Four Oaks Primary School have topped the list.
Central Library scooped the top prize in the Regeneration Category of the Civic Building of the Year, and the judges said:
“This building has a magical quality and cannot fail to impress any visitor. Behind the classical facade both new and existing elements have been successfully moulded to produce a stunning interior and a library of the highest class. The acute orientation of the oval atrium and location of the link bridges between floors is a master piece of modern design.”
Four Oaks Primary School in Everton was highly commended with judges saying:
“The bold use of natural light floods the reception area and sets an uplifting tone for the whole school. At its heart there is a unique cone shaped hall which is surrounded on two levels by innovative teaching and recreational spaces. The first floor play decks and external landscaped courtyards complete the creation of a safe and uplifting learning environment.”
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member responsible for libraries, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “I’m delighted that two Liverpool venues have deservedly had a spotlight shone on them for their outstanding architectural design.
“Since Central Library reopened in 2013 the response from both members of the public and industry professionals has been overwhelming, with praise being given to the transformation which saw the retention of some of the classic features and the introduction modern facilities and materials.
“Four Oaks Primary is a brand new building, opening only two years ago in 2012, and gives pupils the opportunity to learn in state of the art surroundings which has been making a positive difference to their education.
“To have two Liverpool entries on the UK-wide shortlist is commendable enough, but for one of them to win and the other to be highly commended is a real coup, and all the teams who worked on both sites should be incredibly proud.”
Central Library re-opened its doors in May 2013 following a £50m restoration which took ten years in the planning and more than two years in construction. Inspire Partnership delivered the scheme and the main contractor were Shepherd Construction. Austin-Smith Lord were the architects responsible for the project.
To date it has welcomed 1.2million visitors through the door.
Neil Chapman, Austin-Smith:Lord Partner and Head of Urban Regeneration, said: “It has taken some time, but re-presenting this wonderful collection of historic buildings to the community was tremendously fulfilling for all the team; but much as we love the buildings, to see the atrium buzzing with activity and a client excited with opportunities for the future is really rewarding. I think this is what the regeneration award is all about and we are proud to have been involved.”
Four Oaks Primary School was formed from the federation of Hope Valley and Breckfield Primary Schools. The two storey building was designed by the city council’s design joint venture partnership, 2020 Liverpool.
Outside there is an extensive play area providing a “park like” setting, and the first floor has access to an internal “play deck” with large roof lights to let in large amounts of natural light and sunshine.
Four Oaks Headteacher, Sara Robinson, said: “We are over the moon, firstly to have been shortlisted, but then to go on to be highly commended is a real honour.
“We’re massively proud of our school and both the staff and children find it an inspirational and enjoyable place to work and learn. When the SCALA judges came to the school for a site visit a couple of months ago they could clearly see the impact this new building was having on everyone which is why we received such a commendation.
“Since the accolade, we have been approached by another local authority which was so impressed by images of the school, their team want to come and see it for themselves and maybe look to replicate the model in their own area which is hugely rewarding for everyone connected to the school.”