LJMU wins RIBA North West Award

LJMU’s £65m flagship development at Copperas Hill has won a North West Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Home to the Student Life Building and Sports Building, the gateway site has been praised by students for providing a ‘home-base’ for study and many superb facilities.

Now Britain’s top architects say it stands out for its design and also for “stitching together parts of the city that had previously been disjointed and inaccessible”. The colonnade and external landscaping link the central Lime Street Station with the rest of the university campus, the cathedrals, the concert hall, the theatre and the wider Georgian Quarter of the city.

"Welcoming and aspirational"

RIBA judges said: “The Student Life Building feels welcoming, but also mature and aspirational. The architectural approach of the whole project elegantly combines a highly glazed teaching block with the large and unwieldy form of the sports hall, to create an overall ensemble that feels well-proportioned and appropriately civic.

“This impressive building is a new gateway for Liverpool John Moores University and a focal point for the further regeneration of Copperas Hill.”

The 9,500mStudent Life Building is a hub for students, hosts all administration, student advice and wellbeing and careers services into a single location, and provides a visible new home for the student union, JMSU.

The two-storey 4,000mSports Building provides indoor competition sports facilities designed to Sport England standards, including an eight-court badminton hall and two multipurpose halls. The interior for the cardio and weights gyms has an industrial look and feel, using black, white and grey, with rubber sports floor, acoustic ceiling panels and mirrored walls for durability and function.

The exteriors of both buildings are characterised by an external sheltered walkway, a colonnade that curves along the full length of the 120m-long site, linking the buildings together and forming the frontage, designed to create a civic route through a site.

A transformational project

Mark Askem, LJMU’s director of estate development, who led the project, said of the prestigious award: “It is fantastic to be recognised by industry professionals as not only providing a great place to work and study but also adding to the wider life of the city.

“This was a particularly difficult set of buildings to deliver during the Covid pandemic and to see the buildings busy and full of life shows that the design has met our original objectives.

“I’d like to thank the whole team who were involved in delivering the transformational project for the university.”

This LJMU development was led by architect Sheppard Robson with Project Managers Faithful + Gould and main contractor Morgan Sindall.


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