Adam Hall: In response to Emlyn Williams' hope for Hope Street

By David Bartlett on Jan 21, 13 06:38 PM in Guest Blog

adam_hall.jpgI agree that Hope Street is one of Liverpool's Great Streets.

There are a range of architectural styles in the vicinity from the Philharmonic Hall designed by Herbert Rouse in what's called the streamline moderne style of stripped back Art Deco while the Philharmonic Dining Rooms opposite were designed by Walter Thomas in 1898 for Cain's brewery in the exuberant free style.

Then you have the two catherdrals, the Hope Street hotel and extension designed by ourselves, numerous Georgian terraces and the emerging, modern Everyman theatre, so it's a point of agreement that there is a rich variety of building types.

We were tasked with producing a design which didn't seek to emulate or copy styles of the past, but to create a calm, confident building from 2013 to provide a backdrop to those buildings on an important corner site.

Also, it isn't just a building, but a series of spaces around the perimeter and an internal public square which provides some much-needed quiet space off Hope Street, and which will be used for exhibitions, performances and displays.

We think we're using the highest quality materials with limestone for the base, and brick chosen after lengthy consultation with the City Council's Urban Design Manager, and which mirrors the proportion of the brick used in the neighbouring Philharmonic Hall. We have also designed it in such a way that it references features of adjacent buildings such as oriel windows, string courses, an overlay of vertical and horizontal grids and a curved face.

Before submitting the application we consulted thoroughly with stakeholders in the Hope Street area and our offer to meet to discuss the proposals was made to all interested parties.

We believe the building meets the needs of students and, importantly, of the City in being able to attract undergraduates in the future. A healthy knowledge economy is a key element of Liverpool's future economic growth, and the quality of the residential offer for potential students needs to be as high as possible in order to attract the best quality students into the city.

The operator, Student Castle, has an excellent reputation for managing its accommodation and will not accept any unsocial behaviour either within or around its scheme.

We remain slightly confused by English Heritage's response to the scheme as they voiced no objection in terms of height and massing to a scheme for the site on which they were consulted in 2008, and the present plans are actually lower than the previously approved scheme.

We set out to produce a scheme that is recommended for approval by the City Council's planning officers, and this is what we have achieved. We did not do this in isolation, but remained in a constant dialogue with the council throughout the process.

Liverpool should not underestimate the impact of £35m of inward investment, the significant job creation and apprenticeship training opportunities, and the benefit of attractive student accommodation in terms of bringing the brightest and the best to the city in future years that this development represents.

Adam Hall, is MD at architecture practice Falconer Chester Hall, which devised the student development which is back at the council's planning committee tomorrow.

Dale Street Associates

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

City editor of the Post and Echo covering politics, regeneration, and urban affairs.
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