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Shapero unveils tallest tower in the North

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New plans have emerged to build the tallest building in the north of England

Designed by Maurice Shapero, the 67-storey, 199m-tall skyscraper is proposed for the so-called King Edward site close to Liverpool’s historic waterfront at the junction of the Strand and Leeds Street. 

The mixed-use apartment and office tower is the latest in a long line of attempts to build a super high-rise on the plot north of the city centre.

Manchester-based Leach Rhodes Walker (LRW) has already had at least three attempts to draw up viable tower plans on the site including a £130 million proposal for a 165m-tall, curved scheme in early 2010 (see more pictures here - AJ 08.02.10).

Shapero’s skyscraper is backed by Peter Buglass of Custard Pie Properties, who also owns part of the site which was once home to the King Edward Public House.

The scheme, which has been inspired by the ‘notion of the shipping container’ will house 22,986m² of apartments, 1,966m² of shops, 7,744m² of offices and a  1,168m² restaurant.

In a letter seen by the AJ, CABE gave the scheme its ‘qualified support’, adding: ‘We welcome the decision to abandon the previous scheme design [by LRW]. The adoption of a rectilinear building plan and form is a bold move that could work well for the site; the concept appears to have emerged
from a more rigorous process of design development that has considered the building’s orientation, plan form, form and massing, and architectural expression as a

A planning application is expected to be submitted this spring.

Wind tunnel test of Maurice Shapero's 'King Eddy' tower in Liverpool

Wind tunnel test of Maurice Shapero’s ‘King Eddy’ tower in Liverpool

Explaining the design – Maurice Shapero

‘The shipping container’ metaphor is a way to discover deeper truths and free creativity, rather than allow it to restrict us by operating at a level of literal representation. A generating idea must not become an attachment, but should act as a gateway to the ‘truth’.

The scheme is generated from sub-units or blocks stacked to form a larger body. This orthogonal intervention springs from the line set up by Urbed’s master plan which determines a connection from Old Hall Street, through to the water front. This creates a strong orthogonal geometry on the site appropriate for a building of such importance. However, such rational geometry alone would tend to generate a sterile, overbearing form devoid of local topology. To counteract this is a case of allowing the site shape and fall to erode the imposed Cartesian grid. The curve of the site boundary staggers the geometry introducing irrationality into the plan form, which because it is generated from site conditions avoids wilful, arbitrary contrivance. We therefore achieve a harmonious balance of rationality and irrationality contained with the same form. 

The notion of allowing the interaction of the irregular site form and the abstract three dimensional grid, is expressed in the elevations by using the slope of the site to stagger separate, plan generated towers, so the top of the building steps in classic skyscraper fashion.

Maurice Shapero's proposed 'King Eddy' tower in Liverpool

Maurice Shapero’s proposed ‘King Eddy’ tower in Liverpool

People will live above the shadows with a panoramic view of a beautiful city, experiencing the sun’s path from east to eest. The horizontal and vertical slot windows project a changing sequence of light beams across space, time and surface. The character of each particle ray of light is subtly different depending on the position of the glass in the wall reveal. The north-west face of the building is highly insulated with deep 400mm window reveals. The south-east elevation is more transparent, giving views to the water and receiving southern sunshine. 

The top of each tower has a particular sculptural expression. The common theme is the opportunity to provide external space and top light for the apartment below. At such heights these external spaces are protected with high walls of glass and solid, giving a clear view of the sky and a slightly filtered view of the city below.

Maurice Shapero's proposed 'King Eddy' tower in Liverpool

Maurice Shapero’s proposed ‘King Eddy’ tower in Liverpool

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Readers' comments (1)

  • FLOW

    Prefer this to the previous designs.
    Still doubt it will get built.
    But well done to the guy for demonstrating a bit of architectural spirit, in the grim world of property development.
    Sole Practitioner 1 - Big Commercial Practice 0.

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