Wirral Met College have been celebrating as our new Wirral Waters campus won a prestigious RIBA architecture award at a ceremony in Liverpool last week.
The Royal Institute of British Architects award is particularly significant as the 38,000 sq ft college campus is the first new building within Peel’s Wirral Waters project the largest regeneration scheme in the UK.
The building was designed by architect Glenn Howells Architects, and also involved landscape architects, BCA Landscape and masterplanner Parkinson Inc.
“This is a remarkable achievement for all involved. The focus at Wirral Waters is on great placemaking, and excellent design is at the heart of this. Peel is committed to developing a location that people will want to study, work, live and spend their leisure time, so the award is credit to our long term vision,” said Richard Mawdsley, Director of Development at Wirral Waters, adding, “The college project was a tight timeframe from proposing the idea, to design and then build, but we never compromised on the design. GHA’s vision is to maximise the waterfront location while taking inspiration from the industrial dock heritage. We’re delighted that this commitment to quality design at Wirral Waters has been recognised.”
The RIBA awards, hosted at the Bluecoat in Liverpool, celebrates “architectural excellence and highlights the most amazing and inspirational projects” a point that Mawdsley picked up. “It’s proven that good design not only ensures the long term sustainability of the place but has a positive influence on behaviours. We’re collaborating closely with Wirral Council and the Liverpool LEP to make sure we’re developing a joined up approach to Wirral Waters.”
Sue Higginson, Principal and CEO, Wirral Met College, said: “This is a proud day for everyone at the college. Wirral Waters campus is an incredible building and one that marks the future for the college and Wirral Waters because ultimately it is the place where professionals will learn their craft.”
“Designed from the ‘inside out’ the style of construction is specifically aimed at helping students understand how the flow and efficiency of the building can make a huge difference to the aims and purposes it serves. Whilst the outer design fits with the strong architecture of Wirral’s docklands, it is the inside of the building, inspired by our teachers, that has equal importance such that it creates an environment that places learning at the heart of everything,”
The Wirral Met building marked a significant moment in the project’s progress, as the start of a vision to transform the 500 acres of dockland at Birkenhead and Wallasey.
Glenn Howells, Director, Glenn Howells Architects, said: “Winning the RIBA award is fantastic news and testament to the values set out both by Peel Land and Property and the college. The building celebrates the dockland setting and the construction skills being taught in the college. We believe that this building sets the tone for the ambition and emerging wider development at Wirral Waters that we are proud to be a part of.”
More than 300 students have already been involved with the build of the college, which is focused on training ‘home grown’ local people who can benefit from the jobs created in building Wirral Waters’ over the next 20 years. The college was the only Wirral building to reach the final.
The £11m college campus, a partnership between Wirral Met and Peel, supported with funding from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), the College and Peel along with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) in the form of a £2.5 million loan to remediate the land.
Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council said: “I am delighted that Wirral Met’s new Wirral Waters Campus has received this prestigious award. It is particularly good that, as the first new building in Wirral Waters, it is dedicated to developing construction and built environment skills that will equip our young people with the skills to help them create a better future and support the regeneration of Wirral Waters.”
The campus has benefited from being within the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone (EZ) plans for Wirral and Liverpool, one of only 24 EZ’s in the country. EZ status gives businesses tax incentives to support growth and job creation.