Asif Khan Canning Dock Submission
Asif Khan Architects' submission

Shortlist announced for Canning Dock revival

Dan Whelan

Arup, Shedkm and Asif Khan Architects are among designers heading up six teams selected by National Museums Liverpool for the next stage of a competition to revamp part of the Unesco World Heritage Site.

Scroll down for a gallery of design submissions

Spanning the area between the Royal Albert Dock and Mann Island, the transformation project will aim to improve the public realm and visitor experience at Canning Dock, revitalising the waterfront site. 

NML wants to create “a cohesive visitor experience that links storytelling, heritage, community, connectivity, and commercial income”, acting as a catalyst for social and environmental improvements in the area, it said. 

The shortlist, whittled down from a 30-strong applicant pool, was selected by a panel of judges including Paul Monaghan, Liverpool City Region design champion and founder of AHMM. 

Those applying were asked to highlight their commitment to ethnic diversity as part of their submissions. 

Piermasters House Credit National Museums Liverpool

Piermasters House is among small buildings being considered for social and commercial uses. c.National Museums Liverpool

The six teams advancing to the next stage of the competition are led by Arup, which helped draw up the original 10-year masterplan for the area, London-based firms Asif Khan Architects, DSDHA, and OMMX, Danish outfit Bjarke Ingels Group and Liverpool’s shedkm. 

Notable names that feature in the wider project teams include Sir David Adjaye and his brother Peter, as well as historian Ray Costello. 

The competition is being run by design consultant Colander Associates.

The full shortlist

  • Arup with KCAP, NOOMA Studio, Carve, K2, f.r.aRianna Jade Parker, Writing on the Wall, PLACED, Rob Burns, Andrea Nixon, Ray Costello, Abigail Bernard, Anthony Walker Foundation 
  • Asif Khan Architects with Sir David AdjayeTheaster Gates, Mariam Kamara, Plan A Consulting, Prior + Partners, The Place Bureau, Hara Design Institute, AKT II, Arup, Donald Insall Associates 
  • Bjarke Ingels Group with JA Projects; Peter Adjaye; CAVA Institute; Beyond the Box; Poor Collective; Futurecity; LDA Design; AKT II; Hilson Moran; Gardiner & Theobald 
  • DSDHA with Benedetti Architects; Speirs Major; Stantec; Resolve Collective; Neal Shasore; Turley; Hood Design Studio (USA); Gardiner & Theobald 
  • OMMX with Resolve Collective; Create; Lily Mellor; JCLA Landscape Architecture; Kellenberger-White; Jane Wentworth Associates; Arup; Focus Consultants 
  • shedkm with PLACED; Kaizen; Place & Context; Grant Associates; Expedition. 

A winner is expected to be appointed in September. 

Arup Canning Submission

Arup’s submission

The brief

  • 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

“The standard of entries for the competition was of a very high calibre, which made shortlisting very difficult,” Monaghan said. 

“However, the final six shortlisted teams range from international to local, established to up-and-coming, and all the teams showed great diversity in their team members.” 

The judging panel 

  • Sir David Henshaw, chairman of National Museums Liverpool 
  • Paul Monaghan, Liverpool City Region design champion and founder of AHMM 
  • Annie Coombs,  landscape architect and fellow of the Landscape Institute 
  • Ngunan Adamu, producer and presenter at BBC Radio Merseyside 
  • Jubeda Khatun,  artistic director of Blackfest 
  • Marcus Chaloner, urban design manager at Canal and River Trust 
  • Erika Rushton, creative economist working in Liverpool 

“The waterfront competition has been the toughest competition I’ve had to judge so far,” Adamu said. 

“The passion and incredibly high standard of applications has shown what a great city Liverpool is and just how much the docks mean, for not just the citizens of Liverpool, but the international community too.” 

Coombs added: “I loved the inventiveness of some of the engagement ideas the appreciation of the individuality of being Scouse and the acknowledgement that history, good and bad, needs recognition.” 

Each finalist team will receive a £10,000 honorarium and £5,000 to create an interactive installation on the Canning Dock waterfront.  

Teams will be asked to submit details of their approach and attend an interview with the jury panel as well as presenting their installations on the dockside in mid-July as part of a public consultation exercise. 

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