Major award for Central Library

Liverpool’s £50 million refurbishment of Central Library has won a major national award – beating off competition from London’s Shard building.

The city has scooped a prestigious National Building Excellence Award, for its work to sensitively restore the historic building while creating a modern, world-class, 21st century library.

Awarding Liverpool the gong for ‘Technical Innovation’, judges from national body Local Authority Building Control (LABC) highlighted the challenges the city faced in marrying the new build extension to the existing Grade II listed landmark.

The city was praised for developing close working relationships with partners to find solutions to competing technical issues around preservation of the historic façade, access and fire safety.

It was one of two awards won by Liverpool at the LABC Awards, with the city council also scooping the prize for ‘Partnership of the Year’ with Liverpool-based developer Downing Construction.

Downing have been in partnership with Liverpool City Council since 2005, through the LABC partner authority scheme. Judges praised Downing for using Liverpool City Council’s building control team for all their projects – regardless of location – helping to speed up the process and cut red tape. It has helped deliver over 20 multi storey office, hotel and residential developments in Liverpool and more than 20 similar developments nationally in Leeds, Newcastle, London, Sheffield, Manchester and Leicester

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, said: “Liverpool Central Library is a world-class development, and we are immensely proud of the work that has been done to combine the new and the old to create a landmark destination building which will meet the needs of our city for generations to come.

Central Library

“The project has received unanimous praise since its completion in May, and we’re delighted to now receive this national accolade from building industry leaders. The success of the city council, architects, designers and the contractor in taking on such a challenging scheme and delivering an inclusive, safe, accessible and visually stunning building, mean this recognition is well deserved.

“It’s also great news that our partnership with Downing Construction has been recognised. The city’s Building Control team has developed strong relationships with Downing to deliver high profile, multi million pound schemes across Liverpool and beyond, and this award is an endorsement of how the private and public sectors can work together effectively to achieve high quality, sustainable developments.”

The Building Excellence Awards are held annually by LABC to recognise excellence in construction and building control. The awards showcase outstanding buildings and design teams that have had to tussle with technical issues or difficult sites, and develop innovative and creative solutions. They also honour project teams which have shown collaborative and effective partnership working.

Paul Everall, LABC Chief Executive, said: “Our Building Excellence Awards are an opportunity for the industry to celebrate good practice. Our winners demonstrate how positive working relationships with local council building control teams achieve high quality, sustainable buildings. Our awards are unique because they recognise how this cooperation improves building standards and professionalism across the industry.”

Fast facts

• The £50 million restoration of Liverpool Central Library, which originally opened in 1860, included:

– Demolition of the 1950s Brown Library and its extension, and the demolition of the 1978 eight-storey extension between the Walker Art Gallery and the World Museum.
– Construction of a new five-storey library behind a retained Grade II* historic façade.
– Brand new central atrium with domed roof to mirror the Picton Roof.
– New entrance on William Brown Street.
– A new five-storey archive and a specialist climate controlled repository which will store the city’s archives and rare treasures.
– Restoration of the historic Picton Library, Hornby Library and the Oak Room.
– A conservation studio.
– A literary pavement, leading to the entrance of the library, and a literary wall adorning the rear of the building, proudly display the names of writers and titles from world books, cinema and music.
РA new caf̩ located near the entrance.
– The creation of a roof terrace with beautiful views across the city.

• Downing Construction and Liverpool Building Control are working together on various projects in locations across the country. Projects include a multi-million student accommodation development in Acton South London, a phased development in Newcastle totalling in excess of £150 million, the £40 million Central Village student accommodation scheme in Leeds, along with another four projects currently on site in Cambridge and Liverpool with values totalling a further £70 million.

• The Liverpool Central Library scheme beat off competition from nine other projects nationally to win the ‘Technical Innovation’ Award, including The Shard, London Bridge; Cromer and District Hospital, Cromer; Colbalt Data Centre, North Tyneside; Marine Research Building, Plymouth; and Civic Office, Waterdale, Doncaster