White Dwarf confirmed as main contender for explosions
11 December 2007
The first phase of LJMU's 10 year vision for its City Campus was unveiled with the submission of a planning application to develop a new £20million purpose-built science building at Byrom Street.
Subject to planning permission, work is due to start on the new building in April 2008, with completion due for the start of the first semester in 2009.
The development will enable LJMU to consolidate the majority of its teaching and research in science and technology within one strategic Liverpool city centre site.
Professor Michael Brown, LJMU's Vice Chancellor explained: "According to The Guardian, LJMU is the top ranking university in the North West for delivering research that has real impact. This new building has been designed to accommodate laboratories with advanced facilities that will enable us to take our science research, particularly in the area of sport and exercise sciences, in new and exciting directions.
"LJMU is a university with a new approach to higher education and our talented academics and researchers need facilities that will enable them to continue delivering outstanding research results. We are also striving to become the university whose graduates are most valued by employers. But in order to have 'fit for purpose' graduates you need 'fit for purpose' buildings, where students can gain both a thorough grounding of their chosen academic discipline and secure vital work-related skills and experience. That's why this new science building is just the beginning of our plans for Byrom Street and our City Campus. Over the next 10 years, we are planning to invest a further £80million so that we can provide the highest quality facilities for our students, staff and partners."
Situated on a major route into the city and accommodating the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Technology and Environment, Byrom Street is one of LJMU's major landmarks.
The new science building, designed by architects at Austin Smith Lord, Liverpool, will enable LJMU to relocate two academic Schools in the Faculty of Science (Psychology and Sport and Exercise Sciences) from the Henry Cotton Building (Webster Street L3) to Byrom Street. Around 50% of the new building's 6,400 sq.metre floorspace will be given over to specialist teaching and research laboratories, with the remainder being used for teaching, IT suites and staff accommodation. Given the variable topography of the site and the close proximity of suburban housing along its perimeter, the building has a stepped design, which architect Dominic Wilkinson describes as a being a "box within a box".
Access to the building will be via a double height foyer with cascading staircase and small café. An interior "box", on the lower and upper ground floors, will house specialist sport and exercise science labs. Many of these require very controlled environments and minimal natural light, such as the sleep lab (or temporal isolation laboratory), which is used by LJMU scientists analysing the role of the human body clock to manipulate waking and sleeping cycles.
LJMU's School of Sport and Exercise Sciences is ranked as the UK's number one for both teaching and research in this field. The specialist facilities housed within the new building reflect the School's elite status and will include an indoor 70-metre running track and labs for testing cardio-vascular ability, motor skills and bio-mechanics functions. The building will also have additional biochemistry and psychology teaching labs.
Whereas the labs are highly specialised in design, the general staff and teaching accommodation is designed to be very flexible. As far as possible, layouts have been 'future proofed' to ensure that they can be easily adapted for different uses, with ancillary uses and services clustered together in designated zones.
The building is divided into two main blocks, with the higher 5-storey section located towards the main entrance of Bryom Street and the lower 3-storey element located to the rear. The circulation block will be clad in slate grey eternity panels, set against a glass skin made up of cast glass planks that will give the building a high degree of transparency. When looked at obliquely, these glass panels will also give off a shimmering effect bringing a degree of movement and lightness to the facade.
LJMU is aiming to achieve the BRE's BREAM environmental rating of 'very good' for the new building, which will use a Biomass boiler burning UK-sourced wood pellets and a rain water harvesting system.
Architect Dominic Wilkinson said: "This has been a very challenging project that has pushed us to find creative ways to accommodate both the needs of students and staff with the very specialist requirements of research labs. We opted for the double height entrance foyer because we wanted to give the building a sense of drama, to give people a real sense of arrival when they entered the building. As this building is just the first phase of a master plan for Byrom Street, we hope that it sets a high benchmark for future developments on the site."
Top - Artist's impression of the proposed new £20 million science building
- Middle - Artist's impression of the Byrom Street campus showing the location of the new building in relation to existing facilities.