The architects announced for the transformation of Canning Dock by the National Museums of Liverpool


Today, National Museums Liverpool (NML) announced a collaboration between architects Asif Khan Studio, Sir David Adjaye OBE, Mariam Kamara and artist Theaster Gates as the winning team of the Waterfront Transformation Project: Canning Dock competition.

Shortlisted from an extremely impressive selection of six teams including Arup, BIG, DSDHA, OMMX and Shedkm, the winning team also includes Plan A Consultants, Prior + Partners, The Place Bureau, Hara Design Institute, AKTII, ARUP and Donald Insall Associates. Together they will now advance the transformation of the Canning Dock Project – a public space that has an incredibly unique history, rooted in a rich and powerful heritage linked to the very roots of the Port of Liverpool.

This historic project will transform the area between the Royal Albert Dock and Mann Island, as well as the revitalization of all of our waterfront facilities, as part of the National Museums of Liverpool (NML) 10-Year Master Plan to reinventing the Liverpool seafront. The starting point and culmination of this transformation will be the redevelopment of the Dr Martin Luther King Jr building, which will be at the heart of the reinvigorated International Slavery Museum, which recently received £ 9.9million in funding. of the National Heritage Lottery Fund. A spectacular new front door will lead to spaces to explore and investigate the transatlantic slave trade and its legacy.

The Canning Dock competition, run by Colander Associates, is supported by funding of £ 120,000 from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA), as part of its Race Equality program. Taking into account key landmarks, including creating pedestrian links to the Canning Dock and bringing several buildings in the area to life, the project brief was inspired by the complexities of the site. One of the main goals of the transformation is to respond to the unique history of the waterfront – by seeking ways to bring the history of the transatlantic slave trade further into the public domain through compelling yet sensitive designs. – and ensuring that Liverpool’s black communities are engaged and represented everywhere.

The collaboration between Khan, Adjaye, Kamara and Gates was the unanimous choice of the jury, which included local representatives as well as industry experts. Chaired by Paul Monaghan, Liverpool City Region, champion of design and founder of AHMM, the panelists were immensely inspired by the high quality of all entries and the passion and expertise of the winning team, who exemplified the best from the fusion of history, design and innovation. Creating a unique destination that connects storytelling, heritage, community, connectivity and business activity, the jurors were impressed with their ambitions defining the change that will establish the waterfront as a place for all and intriguing new journeys. visitors.

Comments from Mairi Johnson, Director of Major Projects:

“Congratulations to the winning team! We had six fantastic teams that applied for the competition and we knew it would be a tough choice for the jurors to make. We are thrilled and extremely impressed and inspired by their innovative, sensitive and powerful thinking in bringing about this transformation.

The transformation of the waterfront is a huge opportunity for the National Museums of Liverpool to now work with the Liverpool team and communities to reimagine the full potential of Canning Dock. We look forward to the collaborative process and the result.

Canning dock
Photo – Gareth Jones

Drawing on their collective knowledge, the successful design team – which includes internationally and nationally recognized organizations and individuals – will work with NML, stakeholders, communities, the public and the team. broad design to ensure that the vision for the new waterfront is explored and implemented. with a collaborative, open and responsible approach. From building benches to bridges, the team will synthesize opportunities and constraints, and begin to develop scenarios that test ideas and approaches. Consultations and workshops will be facilitated by their community programming group which includes 20 Stories High, Writing on the Wall and Squash Liverpool. Using this method, the team will determine the best way to successfully animate the visitor experience on the waterfront.

Asif Khan MBE said:

“History is like the ocean, with all its depths and betrayals. Looking from the shore these waters feel like we belong to us, and yet the sea is so different from where you are in the world. History can wash things away one day and bring them back like ghost ships the next. Coming to terms with history is how we grow as individuals, as communities and – we believe – it is what makes life and cities beautiful.

For the National Museums in Liverpool, we have formed a different type of design team – not just to deliver a project, but to ensure one that makes a lot of sense. This new piece of history will welcome voices from all over Liverpool and around the world, places and people linked to Canning Dock. “

Sir David Adjaye OBE:

“Our collaborative team of technical architects, planetary architects and an artist envision the transformation of the NML Waterfront as an opportunity to powerfully reformulate Liverpool’s history by reinvigorating the city’s diverse social, civic and environmental context. Recognizing the history of the surrounding waterfront, connecting the region’s cultural infrastructure, and creating a space in which the public realm and the public arts can connect, has the potential to create a distinct, engaging and empowering identity for the community to grow with and in. “

Mariam Kamara:

“The transformation of Canning Dock is a chance to explore the power of architecture as a storytelling tool to fill the knowledge gaps that exist about the history of Liverpool as well as this important site. The NML Waterfront Transformation is an opportunity to draw on the threads that make up the history of the transatlantic slave trade – from Africa, across the Atlantic to the United States and back to Liverpool – to bridge the gaps. gaps, unearth the memories and ultimately put forward an exciting space for the public to explore and engage in the history of Liverpool while being firmly focused on the future.

Theater doors:

“Commemoration and commemoration are among the most important acts in which a nation can be involved – especially commemoration around racial complexity and social ills. Canning Dock represents one of the most important racialized sites in the UK and it gives me great honor to work with this team to realize the complexity of the site. We hope that by using the tools of monument building, commemoration and commemoration, we will be able to do what many have not been able to do, which is to give emotional weight to the truth of slavery in the UK historically and the possibility of a site of re-emotion, healing and treatment of these complexities. It will not be an easy trip, but we are taking the task with great humility and seriousness. “

In response to the brief, the winning team will focus on the public realm (including a public art strategy), new bridges stretching from the Pump House to Mann Island, transforming the two dry docks into one. educational and cultural experience, and water animation. The team identified in their submission that reconnection and accessible recreational roads will play a critical role in development. Recognition of the different flows of people from the city, including creative, cultural, knowledge, retail and business districts, all informed their response at the site level. A site that was once used in the 18th century for fitting out, cleaning and repairing ships, including those used in the transatlantic slave trade, must be approached with sensitivity – connecting the past with the present. The team presented ideas and creative solutions that will build on the importance of the area through a thoughtful and engaging response to both the history of the site and its future potential.

This timely transformation is not just for Liverpool, but for the whole of the UK. NML will work collaboratively with the design team to build on strengths, address challenges and opportunities, and be a catalyst for social improvements and the creation of space for people and communities. This project allows the space to redefine its identity beyond its primary role as NML’s arrival gate, and something befitting its many visitors.

The design competition was made possible with funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. NML is working to secure funds to complete the project. This includes an offer which has been submitted by Liverpool City Council to the government leveling fund the outcome of which will be announced this fall.

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