Merseytravel HQ, Liverpoll UK
The current project is situated at the edge of the south east of the Baltic Triangle at the point where St. George Street meets Parliament Street western from the Anglican Cathedral Campus. It occupies a site area of approximately 3000 sq.m. and the ground condition is named as helsby sandstone.
Original inspiration for this project was taken from establishing a few concepts around its purpose and means for use. These can be summarised into three keywords: wheel, movement and network.
The project involves the regeneration of an area by constructing a new train station on the existing line and hence, it promotes the idea of networking. The presence of a busy road network adjacent to it plays a catalytic role for a strategic consideration of the site as a junction within a network.
To draw attention to it as a base, it needs to show a strong nature provided by the emergence of a tower. The basic form adopts an elliptical shape expressing curvature. The design was inspired by the wheel, a revolutionary invention, a symbol of motion. The design hides a spoked wheel which is expressed as imaginary rays unravelled on the building’s internal compartmentalisation. This feature aims to present a unifying tone further highlighting the centre of the tower.
The external face of the building consists of a double glazing cavity supported by a cladding system. The metre gap of the cavity is the modern way of glazing towers for thermal resistance. It also allows natural light into the building and brings fresh air for ventilation in every individual office.
Glass is the main material for this building. It covers 100% of the building’s external render. This is not only for the design but its for sustainability reasons as well. Daylight is what we want to bring into the building and solar energy is what we need to store for further use! There is a big difference in the sun’s heat and angle (Feb 30˚ – July 60˚) between summer and winter but even in months such as February, photovoltaic panels can help the building to collect and restore energy gain from the sun.
The plan shows a wide public space which separates the two main bodies of the building. This atrium is the heart of the concept because is the passage from the station and the other routes to the agora. Environmentally, this works as a ventilation chimney. The warm air is vented at the top and is kept circulating due to natural convection.
A useful strategy is to leave a metre gap between the two glazing screens at the external side of the building, having small openings at the top and the bottom. As a consequence, the building can get solar heat and be also ventilated when it needs so. This is the strategic issue to reduce the energy efficient. Special glass screens can control the light level which passes through the glass by the use of gas. Each individual person is able to open the window and have natural controlled ventilation. The orientation of the building shows good resistance against the wind.
In this typical office building, there will be many computers which rise the temperature up. The rooms need to be air conditioned or naturally ventilated according to the regulations.
Initially, there was an idea to use the strong winds of Liverpool as an energy source by using special made turbines (similar to those which are being used for the aircrafts) at the building’s roof or anywhere convenient. However, this idea was rejected because of the turbine’s manufacture and the high installation cost.
Attitude to ‘zero CO²’
The cross-bridges which connect internally the two bodies of the building are located at the exit of the atrium, which faces the north-west of the HQ. Their purpose is not just to simply link the buildings but they also function as a place where people who work can enjoy their lunch. The gardens contain indoor trees and plants which give a breath of fresh air inside the building. The concept of indoor gardens has been successfully applied before. These gardens refresh and recycle the internal environment by reducing the levels of carbon dioxide inside the building.
The size and use of the windows was carefully designed so that they can open and ventilate the plants. The reinforced floor-plates are strong enough to support the weights of the soil and the plants.