Works successfully within an excellent landscape scheme
Glenn Howells Architects for Peel Holdings Ltd
Contract value: undisclosed
Wirral Metropolitan College is a school for technical education, providing suitable skills to deliver elements of the wider Wirral Waters masterplan and the historic dock system over the next 30 years. The vision for the project was to create an education building of high architectural merit that acts as an ‘essay in construction’. Although somewhat industrial, especially when viewed from a distance, the simplicity of the grid and section are the result of the need to fast track the project, with complexity added where appropriate and in a restrained manner – like the external perforated skin. This is a simply planned building and although the diagram is not ground breaking, it has been delivered with rigour and the building will act as a pedagogical device for students.
The jury found that one of the most successful aspects of the building is the way it works within an excellent landscape scheme. Its dockside setting has been fully exploited. The absence of barriers to the water was noticeable and, combined with the lack of perimeter fencing, the landscape is allowed to act as a welcoming public space. This final aspect, unusual in the UK, persuaded the judges that the building is worthy of an award.