HIP, University of Liverpool – Levitt Bernstein Associates
There is a school of thought within architectural design that suggests we should beautify all aspects of our built environment, including the services that run our buildings. I tend to agree. Why should we hide them away in underground plants, or on top of our buildings, or in poky cupboards? We should celebrate the very things that keep our urban lives ticking over.
At the University of Liverpool, they have just done that with this beautiful energy centre. Within its walls is the entire heating set up for the campus. Rather than existing as a periphery, an ignored forgotten element, it has been housed in a structure that celebrates its quality and purpose.
This project rationalises the heating infrastructure of the entire university campus by constructing a new energy centre in place of various remote boiler houses.
The new energy centre contains a combined heat and power unit comprising a gas engine and associated combination boiler, plus two conventional boilers in an energy efficient installation. This provides electricity, primary high-temperature heat and effective re-use of high and low grade waste heat. It is situated in a new building next to the listed 19th century Royal Liverpool Infirmary, and its associated boiler house, both designed by Sir Alfred Waterhouse.
The energy centre has an innovative patterned and ventilated cladding system of specially formed trapezoidal aluminium ‘scales’, whose colour and appearance adjust according to the quality and direction of the light. The chevron pitched roofs reflect the varied roofscape of the historic core of the campus and are designed for the retrofitting of photovoltaic panels, Levitt Bernstein Associates