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John McCall unwraps UK's 'first green' homeless centre

[FIRST LOOK + PLANS + DATA] Liverpool-based John McCall Architects has converted a Victorian convent into an eco-friendly homeless centre

The £3.6 million project, completed for housing association Liverpool Mutual Home in partnership with Liverpool City Council, contains 16 self-contained apartments for families who will be supported by homeless organisation SHAP and housing charity The Whitechapel Centre.

The shell of the Victorian property with its marble pillar entrances and intricate window tracery was retained. A new extension to the side rear provides additional space.

The remodelled centre is sub-divided into private, self-contained apartments, with en-suite bathrooms, a kitchen, dining and living room, in units that interconnect so that families of up to eight people can be accommodated and live together.

The centre also contains family lounges, facilities for children, a playground, laundry, offices, meeting and training rooms, and areas for staff sleeping and storage.

The 1,688m² project includes a green sedum roof, photovoltaic solar cells, flat-plate solar collectors and heat pumps that convert hot air into energy and provide hot water. Thermostats fitted to each room regulate temperatures and a centralised thermal store distributes energy from heat pumps, boilers and solar systems.

A rainwater harvesting system designed specifically for the centre collects from the main roof to provide 60 per cent of communal water and a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system extracts stale air and inserts fresh air before converting it into heat and distributing it throughout the building.

Steve Coffey, chief executive at Liverpool Mutual Homes, said: ‘The scale of the project was enormous. It took three months to demolish and clear the internal structures and attach the original building to the new extension while the 140-year-old shell was retained.

‘This allowed us to install some of the most innovative green technology available so the centre is sustainable and has a light, airy ambience that is uplifting with a very modern feel.’

Project data

Architect John McCall Architects

Location Belvidere Road, Liverpool L8 3TF                                  
Project Architect Paul Moscardini

Design Team Paul Moscardini, Ian Webster, Stuart Gee and Jonathan Smith

Client Liverpool Mutual Home
Funding 40 per cent GAP, 60 per cent LMH funded
Tender date August 2010
Start on site date January 2011
Contract duration 71 weeks
Gross internal floor area 1,688m²
Form of contract and/or procurement JCT Design and Build 2005
Total cost £3,630,470
M&e consultant Contractor designed system
Quantity surveyor Daniel Foran - Savills
Planning supervisor Capita
Lighting consultant Contractor designed
Main contractor Bardsley Construction
Structural Engineers  Alan Johnston Partnerships
Annual co2 emissions: 46kg/m2/year      

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