A planning application for a new Welcome Pavilion to be built at Liverpool's Albert Dock has been submitted to the city council.
Designed by K2 Architects, the structure represents the first phase of a masterplan to upgrade the dockland attraction – home to the largest group of Grade I listed buildings in the country – to the evolving needs of visitors, who travel to the landmark for its mixture of culture, history, food, shopping and events.
Development firm Gower Street Estates, the freeholder of the site, has proposed a glass structure on Salthouse Quay, covering a total floor space of 400sq m (4,300sq ft), including an outside canopy area. The pavilion will act as a welcome, information and event space, while also hosting multi-media events that showcase the history and heritage of Albert Dock.
“Albert Dock is a unique place, a Unesco World Heritage site, and loved by locals and tourists alike,” said K2 director Mark Davies. “Our designs for the new Welcome Pavilion aim to improve the experience for Albert Dock’s six million visitors each year and ensure it continues to play a key role in Liverpool’s progression.”
Landscape design firm Planit-IE have also submitted plans to improve the public realm, opening up views of the waterfront, creating a more pedestrian-friendly arrival route and reconnecting the ground between the dock, the Liverpool ONE shopping complex and the wider city.
The planning application was developed following public and stakeholder consultation back in September 2017, led by planning and engineering consultant Arup. Liverpool City Council will now consider the submission.
Sue Grindrod, chief executive of Gower Street Estates, said: “While we recognise and respect the important role Albert Dock has played in the fortunes of the city over the years, our focus is very much to the future and how we position Albert Dock as an internationally-recognised attraction fit for the visitors of tomorrow.
“The proposals for the Welcome Pavilion demonstrate our commitment to a long-term strategy of investment in the infrastructure of the Dock, that not only respects the unique heritage and historic built environment but brings about much-needed improvements to the visitor experience.”
The scheme is part of Albert Dock 175, a wider strategy launched in 2016 “to assert the Dock’s position as a world-class, leisure destination” by 2021 – the 175th anniversary of its opening by Prince Albert.
Liverpool has been under pressure from Unesco in recent times, with the international heritage organisation threatening to strike the city from its World Heritage register. In a bid to protect its World Heritage status, the City of Liverpool and Historic England have drawn up a heritage action plan
, created to navigate the threat posed by the city's proposed £5.5bn (US$7.7bn, €6.22bn) Liverpool Waters development.