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RIBA’s delayed northern base to open in June – three years late

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The RIBA’s new architecture centre in Liverpool, designed by Broadway Malyan, will open on 17 June – more than three years after its originally scheduled completion date

The institute announced this week that issues relating to the quality of finishes of the scheme within the Mann Island development have now been resolved.

The project has so far cost the RIBA £600,000. It features an architecture gallery, conference spaces, a café, shop and a new home for the RIBA North West staff, who have already moved in.

The opening exhibition, Liverpool(e): Mover, Shaker, Architectural Risk-Taker, will celebrate Liverpool’s architectural history.

Explaining the delays, a spokesperson for the RIBA said: ‘The developer decided that the quality of finish of several key elements was not at the desired level and declined to issue the practical completion certificate, which was needed in order to exchange contracts and complete the lease.

‘This has had the knock-on effect for a number of RIBA-commissioned works, for example the installation of the launch exhibition.’

However, last year, developer Neptune told The Architects’ Journal that the delay was due to concerns raised by the RIBA.

Steve Parry, managing director at Neptune, said: ‘Unfortunately it has taken longer than anticipated to achieve the standards of finish required by the RIBA for a number of reasons.’

RIBA North was originally earmarked for completion in April 2014, according to former RIBA president Stephen Hodder.

In June last year the RIBA said the hold-up had been caused by ‘many factors’ including the prioritisation of schemes in London.

A spokeswoman said at the time: ‘As is common with many building projects, there have been a few delays, for example at the start of the build in agreeing contractors’ proposals and one or two issues with the sourcing of building materials and final finishes.’ The Mann Island development won an RIBA North West Award in 2015.

The opening exhibition, aided by a £67,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant, will include drawings of unbuilt proposals for the city’s Anglican Cathedral by Charles Nicholson and Philip Webb; a scheme by Denys Lasdun from 1959 for the Catholic Cathedral site, and a vision for a new skyline by Graeme Shankland from the 1960s, which would have removed two-thirds of the city centre’s existing buildings.

Competition design for Roman Catholic Cathedral  Denys Lasdun 1959

Competition design for Roman Catholic Cathedral Denys Lasdun 1959

Source: RIBA collections

Competition design for Roman Catholic Cathedral Denys Lasdun 1959


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