Liverpool Waterfront to host RIBA North West office

Simon Donohue

The Royal Institute of British Architects is to open an architecture centre within the Mann Island building on the Liverpool Waterfront in late 2014.

It will sit at the heart of Liverpool's UNESCO World Heritage Site and provide galleries, office facilities for RIBA staff in the North West, office and conference spaces, a café and shop.

The centre will provide work space for up to 40 people in a 'community' setting, including the 12-strong RIBA North West team.

Created by the RIBA with support from local partners, the centre will span two floors and is intended to help visitors to discover, participate in and be inspired by architecture.

Liverpool was selected as the home for the centre after a lengthy independent study of potential locations across the UK, and following extensive engagement with key public and private sector stakeholders from across the region.

RIBA president Stephen Hodder said: "The RIBA is committed to engaging the public with architecture and we are delighted to be able to have a permanent base in Liverpool that will allow us to share our exhibitions and collections outside of London.

"The prominent high-footfall location of our new public gallery at Mann Island, next to the Three Graces, the new Museum of Liverpool, Liverpool One and the attractions of the Albert Dock will help us to reach a much wider audience in the North West. The new facilities, alongside conference and desk space for our staff and others, will mean we can offer even greater support to all our members in the region."

Robert Hough, chairman of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "The LEP was pleased to support this project from its inception and we are delighted to see it finally come to fruition. The fact that RIBA have chosen to establish their architecture centre here speaks volumes for Liverpool's standing in the architectural world and I am sure it will be a place of pilgrimage for architects from all over the world.

"In addition it is perfectly situated on the Liverpool Waterfront to capture a large share of our cultural visitor market who have already shown their enthusiasm for architecture through their patronage of the RIBA walking tours programme."

At the heart of the project will be an exhibition gallery with museum conditions, which will be able to host an inspiring programme of exhibitions and show the RIBA's world-class architectural collections in the region.

The public area of the centre includes a city gallery, conference/lecture space, meeting rooms, an independent café and a shop.

Desk space will be available for letting to RIBA Members and external organisations, to support the development of a thriving architecture and design community space. A programme of outreach activity including RIBA Liverpool City tours, education and talks programmes will be based at the centre.

Max Steinberg, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, said: "We are pleased to welcome the RIBA to Mann Island, and are delighted that it is opening in late 2014.

"The RIBA is an internationally-renowned institution and its choice of Liverpool reflects both the city's reputation across the world and the quality of its built environment. It will provide us with a place to do business in an environment that showcases the vision and ambition for the city, as well as further enhancing the waterfront's visitor offer.

"The news of RIBA Mann Island comes to Liverpool at a very exciting time – next year Liverpool hosts the International Festival of Business 2014, which will see world-class business events staged across the city region through June and July."

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What a coup for Liverpool.

By John

Pity it’s in such a poor building that does nothing for the waterfront.

By Toby

Oh the irony…a year late and millions over budget…

By Stick Up