Canning Dock Site Survey Credit National Museums Liverpool
Canning Dock is a missing piece in the waterfront's regeneration. c.National Museums Liverpool

Canning Dock design competition launches  

National Museums Liverpool is to appoint a multidisciplinary team to transform part of the city’s Unesco World Heritage site into a leisure and cultural destination. 

Spanning the area between the Royal Albert Dock and Mann Island, the transformation project will take in key Liverpool landmarks including the creation of pedestrian links to the Canning Dock, while also bringing life to multiple buildings within the area as part of a 10-year masterplan for the transformation of Liverpool’s waterfront. 

The brief for the competition, which will be run by design consultant Colander Associates, includes: 

  • Redevelopment of Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building, formerly the Dock Traffic Office and once Granada TV offices, facing entrance to Royal Albert Dock. To include an extension of and new entrance to the International Slavery Museum currently next door on the third floor of Merseyside Maritime Museum 
  • “Breathe new life” into the 18th century now underutilised dry docks once used for fitting out, cleaning and repairing ships, including those used in the transatlantic slave trade, central to Liverpool’s economy at the time. These dry docks are now some of the most historically significant maritime structures in the world 
  • New public spaces at Canning Dock, as well as new pedestrian bridges to improve accessibility, “bringing forward innovative and creative solutions that will raise the profile of the area whilst responding to the history of the site and creating one seamless experience linking past with present” 
  • Multiple smaller buildings that are not fully used including the Cooperage, Mermaid House, Pilotage building, Piermaster’s House and Great Western Railway Building represent commercial and cultural opportunities for NML as part of its sustainability planning in order to generate more revenue streams 
Aerial View Credit Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Aerial view of the masterplan by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Planit-IE and Arup

NML was advised on the masterplan by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Planit-IE and Arup. 

Director of National Museums Liverpool Laura Pye said: “The Canning Dock is a hugely important public space with great potential, and it is so important that we deliver the needs of existing and new communities, offering people a space where they can gather to laugh, learn, play, and relax. 

“We want to transform people’s experiences into something memorable, but importantly this project also presents us with the opportunity to represent the historic significances of the site.” 

The two-stage competition will be open to both national and international design teams including architects, landscape architects, and structural, civil and services engineers, according to NML. 

Those applying will be asked to highlight their commitment to ethnic diversity as part of their submissions, “reflecting the NML’s ongoing commitment to creating a more equitable environment and being a catalyst for social and environmental change”, NML said. 

Those interested in applying for the competition, are invited to submit their initial expressions of interest by midday on Friday 23 April for consideration by the judging panel.

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