Liverpool’s Albert Dock gets go ahead for first step of transformation plan

Liverpool City Council has given the green light to a welcome pavilion at the entrance to the city’s iconic Albert Dock as part of a wider masterplan to upgrade the city’s famous area.

Artist impressions show what the Albert Dock could look like once transformed by the pavilion as the city looks to boost the levels of tourists visiting Liverpool with over six million already visiting every year.

The building will be used as a “welcome, information and event space” for visitors heading to the UNESCO world heritage site. It forms part of a plan to upgrade the Albert Dock ahead of its 175th anniversary in three years time. Work is due to start in autumn, with an expected completion in the summer of 2019.

The pavilion is described as being “light and transparent, low and horizontal, slender and distinctly modern”. The scheme will also will strengthen links between the city centre and the waterfront with the removal of physical barriers and clutter opening up views of the waterfront and providing a public event space and an overall more pedestrian-friendly welcome.

Commenting on the approval, Sue Grindrod, chief executive of Albert Dock Liverpool, said: “Delivering on our vision for a Welcome Pavilion in such an iconic location has pushed us to focus on the future needs of visitors to Albert Dock for years to come. We are thrilled that we can now break ground and realise the vision. I’m grateful for the support provided by the teams from Arup, K2 Architects, Planit-IE, Curtins, Steven A Hunt & Associates, Walker Sime, Jenny Douglas, and Rob Burns who have all worked together so brilliantly to deliver the planning, and I cannot wait to see it rise from the ground.”

The welcome pavilion forms the first part of a masterplan developed by landscape architects, Planit-IE, for the future development of the iconic Liverpool site. It also responds to the ambitions of Albert Dock 175 - a robust strategy that will assert the Dock’s position as a world-class, leisure destination, counting up to a year of celebration in 2021 - 175 years since the Dock was officially opened by Prince Albert.

Mark Davies, director of K2 Architects which carried out the designs, said: “This building will be the first modern development to be built at Albert Dock in a long time and is a testament to the confidence and forward-thinking approach of the Dock leadership. The Welcome Pavilion underpins a new sense of arrival, and reinterpreting ways in which Albert Dock connects and articulates its unique heritage with future generations of visitors. We are not looking for a dwell time here, this is not a “shouty” building. It is deliberately pared down, but the attention is in the detail.”

Paul Grover, associate director at Arup, added: “When we started out on this project, we were all committed to delivering an award-winning project and I think we have remained true to that vision. The Welcome Pavilion will be a new icon on the waterfront. It will be a key linkage to bring people out from Liverpool ONE, down to the waterfront and linking back into Albert Dock to peek inside those incredible pavilions beyond.”

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