RIBA North

New architecture centre in Liverpool opens with a show of unrealised projects for the city


Hufton & Crow, Webbaviation (aerial)

‘Liverpool(e): Mover, Shaker, Architectural Risk-Taker’ is the first exhibition at RIBA North, the new national architecture centre on Liverpool waterfront, which opened in June. The show features newly restored drawings, watercolours and models from the RIBA Collections depicting unrealised designs for the city. 

Running until 16 September, ‘Liverpool(e): Mover, Shaker, Architectural Risk-Taker’ celebrates the city’s history of architectural ambition and its willingness to consider audacious schemes. A Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant enabled 30 drawings, models and watercolours from the RIBA Collections to be restored for the exhibition, including unbuilt proposals by Denys Lasdun for the Catholic Cathedral site and a vision for a new skyline by Graeme Shankland from the 1960s, after two-thirds of the city’s buildings were declared to be obsolete. A newly commissioned film reflects on those buildings that were realised, including interviews with Michael Wilford and Ian Richie.


Edwin Lutyens’ sketch design for Liverpool’s Roman Catholic cathedral, 1932 (ph: RIBA Collections)


Shankland Cox Partnership’s 1963 proposal for Liverpool city centre (ph: RIBA Collections)


Denys Lasdun’s competition design for Liverpool’s Roman Catholic cathedral, 1959 (ph: RIBA Collections)

Stirrat Johnson-Marshall’s student design for a bridge over St James’s Cemetery, Liverpool, 1931-2 (ph: RIBA Collections)

RIBA North will host a programme of temporary exhibitions, architectural city tours, workshops, talks and debates and a new cafe and shop. The centre is situated at Mann Island in a building designed by Broadway Malyan. The permanent City Gallery display provides a space for visitors to learn about Liverpool’s past present and future, as well as the processes involved in urban development. It includes an interactive 3-d Digital City Model that can be used by developers, architects and planners to host public consultations, anticipate the impact of future development, and encourage the best design approaches.


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