Engineering Dept. University of Liverpool – Sheppard Robson Architects
Sheppard Robson has designed an innovative two-storey ‘Active Learning Lab’ as the striking centrepiece to the redevelopment of the Department of Engineering at the University of Liverpool. The scheme provides the department with up-to-date facilities through the refurbishment of four existing buildings, creating a new entrance foyer and courtyard to act as the hub of the department.
The Lab is a double-height, part-naturally ventilated, glass-clad structure which, by reusing the columns supporting an existing 1960s nine-storey tower, appear to float above the existing podium building below. The outer skin of reflective and fritted glass panels provides the University with a statement building which reflects, rather than overshadows, the surrounding architecture. There are extensive views from the Lab west towards the city centre, south across to the Metropolitan Cathedral and north across the University campus.
The new entrance foyer is a fully glazed, three-storey full-height extension to the red brick Alfred Waterhouse-designed Victorian buildings, which will for the first time knit together the disparate buildings of the site. The new Lab is designed to promote the department’s industry-orientated undergraduate curriculum, which is based on the principles of CDIO: Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate. This enables project work to be carried out in groups of varying sizes and allows the exhibition and testing of full-size replica models.