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Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

Sheppard Robson’s project winner of a 2024 RIBA North West Award, is both a student life and multi-sports facility, as well as an important link stitching together previously disjointed parts of the city

Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow

2024 RIBA North West Award

Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University
Sheppard Robson for Liverpool John Moores University
Contract value: £40m
GIA: 13507m2
Cost per m2: £2,963

This is both a centre for student life and a multi-sports facility. As well a providing a complex series of well-used spaces for the university, the building’s external form and orientation stitch together previously disjointed and inaccessible parts of the city. The colonnade and external landscaping link Lime Street Station with the rest of the university campus, as well as cathedrals, concert hall, theatre and the wider Georgian Quarter of the city. The centre feels welcoming, but also mature and aspirational. The architectural approach of the whole project elegantly combines a highly glazed teaching block with the large and unwieldy form of the sports hall, to create an overall ensemble that feels well proportioned and appropriately civic, both as a front door for the university and part of the connections to central Liverpool.

  • Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
    Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
  • Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
    Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
  • Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
    Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
  • Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
    Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
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The five-storey Student Life building is arranged in an open-plan layout around an atrium. It provides flexible learning, socialising and study spaces that are exceptionally well-used and well-liked. It also brings together student-facing services such as wellbeing and careers advice, alongside the students’ union, creating an easy-to-navigate space. The second building contains an eight-court sports hall, gym and multi-purpose studio spaces. Internally, high-quality fitted joinery creates a variety of spaces for informal individual and group learning, with clear emphasis on bringing staff and students together while providing autonomous and flexible spaces for the student union itself.

Both buildings are linked by a curved brick colonnade and landscaped external garden. The curved colonnade consists of engineered brick piers with copper-coloured metal soffits. Triangular patterns and chevrons repeat across the colonnade and facades, inspired by local references such as Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and the former Lewis’s department store.

  • Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
    Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
  • Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
    Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
  • Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
    Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
  • Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
    Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
  • Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
    Copperas Hill Student Life and Sports Building, Liverpool John Moores University. Credit: Hufton + Crow
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The brief for this project from the client also centred around making a civic contribution to central Liverpool. It forms part of a larger masterplan, regenerating an area of the city previously cut off from public use. As such, the building fulfils this brief particularly well. It truly creates a civic ‘front door’ for Liverpool John Moores University.

See the rest of the North West winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here.

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com.

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Contractor Morgan Sindall
Structural engineer/sustainability Cundall
Environmental/M&E engineer A&B Engineering
Landscape architect Gillespies
Principal designer Faithful + Gould
Acoustic engineer Sandy Brown Associates

Credit: Sheppard Robson
Credit: Sheppard Robson
Credit: Sheppard Robson
Credit: Sheppard Robson
Credit: Sheppard Robson

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