Two award-winning, internationally acclaimed architectural firms, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects in Denmark, and Ellis Williams Architects in Liverpool, have been appointed by Peel Land & Property to design the new Maritime Knowledge Hub.
The architects are committed to breathing new life back into the Grade II listed Hydraulic Tower building, which was bombed during World War II. Visually, this project is expected to be one of the most spectacular parts of the entire Wirral Waters regeneration project.
Preserving Maritime Heritage
Protecting the heritage and history of the Hydraulic Tower and Engine House, designed by Jesse Hartley, will be integral to the design. The 19th century Hydraulic Tower will retain as much of its original character as possible and will house work and meeting spaces, three pools including a HydroLab, a café and visitors’ portal, and an observatory that will provide views over Wirral Waters and the greater Liverpool area.
Complimenting the refurbishment of the historical tower will be the creation of a centre for marine entrepreneurship, enterprise, skills and culture to support the marine and maritime sectors.
The new building will accommodate the bulk of the Marine Technology Centre, the Offshore Survival Training Centre and the Marine Simulation and Training Centre. It will be industry led and will drive research and innovation by bringing education, employers and businesses together.
A Fusion of Past and Future
The new build extension element of the design will be lower in height and subservient to the main tower – the centre-piece of the project. A perimeter of reused bricks, visually linking past and future, will surround the two buildings that make up the Maritime Knowledge Hub with a walled garden created that joins the old and the new. The integration of green spaces will extend to roof terraces that can be used for meetings and events.
The interiors of the buildings will feature open ceilings, with visible trays and pipes, and will consist of raw materials, such as steel and concrete.
A Beacon for Wirral
The Maritime Knowledge Hub, along with its refurbished tower, will – once again – become a beacon for the area, positioned at the very heart of Wirral Waters. Along with MEA Park, the Maritime Knowledge Hub will form the industrial focus of Wirral Waters where over 20,000 permanent jobs will be created and where innovation, research, skills and training will drive industrial growth on a global scale.
Project partners: Liverpool John Moores University, Mersey Maritime, Peel Group Wirral MBC.