The new Museum of Liverpool, designed by Copenhagen-based 3XN, will open its doors to the public next week Tuesday, July 19. The dynamic low-rise structure is the largest National Museum to be built in the UK in over 100 years and is situated on a UNESCO World Heritage Site next to Liverpool’s famous ’Three Graces’.
Principal Architect and Creative Director at 3XN, Kim Herforth Nielsen, about the magnitude of the challenge when it came to designing the new Museum of Liverpool: "This is one of the largest and most prestigious projects in 3XN’s 25 year history. The Museum’s design is a result of a very rigorous process, where it was of utmost priority to listen to the city inhabitants, learn the city’s history and understand the potential of the historical site that the Museum now sits upon."
The Museum lies along the Mersey River in the center of Liverpool, and will function as a nexus, in that it physically connects the Harbour promenade with the Albert Dock, which today contains restaurants, museums and boutiques. The outdoor areas around the Museum offer seating with views to the water adding to the dynamic urban environment and serving as a meeting point for locals and visitors alike.
The theme is carried through into the Museum of Liverpool’s central atrium, with its sculptural sweeping staircase leading up to the galleries further encouraging social interaction. All of these functions result in Kim Herforth Nielsen choosing to describe the Museum as a structure that unites Liverpool.
"This Museum connects the city together on many levels - physically, socially and architecturally. The idea of creating a Museum as a nexus in both physical and symbolic expression has been central from the start. I am very satisfied to see that this ideal is carried out to the full in the completed structure."
Dr David Fleming OBE, Director of National Museums Liverpool, is thrilled with 3XN’s design and looks forward to welcoming visitors to the museum: "To design the building we appointed Danish architects 3XN, who responded to our requirement (…) The resulting structure is a striking addition to the Liverpool cityscape. I can't wait to open the doors to visitors to show off our new museum and encourage others to discover more about this extraordinary city."
Project Description from the Architects:
Located at the UNESCO World Heritage Site between the Albert Dock and the Pier Head, and next to a row of prominent historic buildings dubbed ‘The Three Graces’ the museum building is conceived as inclined or elevated platforms, gradually forming a sculptural structure. Fully accessible it will contribute to the public promenade flow along the Docks. Situated at the Pier Head, the museum will be visible from both the river and the city.
The nexus of the building, the central staircase is crucial to the museum, and during the design process it was studied thoroughly in sketches, 3-D renders, and in physical models. The atrium serves as a public ‘living room’ as well as entrance lobby, providing connection to the exhibition spaces which are dispersed around it.
The new Museum of Liverpool ambitions to become the World’s leading city history museum, showcasing social history and popular culture and will look at Britain and the world through the eyes of Liverpool. It is estimated that the new museum will attract at least 750,000 visitors on a yearly basis, and that Liverpool, with the Museum as a symbol of the Liverpool’s ongoing regeneration, will be elevated into the front rank of European tourist destinations, as well as providing a brilliant place for local families to find out about their own history.
Address: Mann Island, Liverpool, UK
Client: National Museums Liverpool
Award: 1st prize in Invited competition 2004
Size: 12,500 m2
Budget: DKK715m / €95m
Landscape Architect: Schønherr
Engineer: Buro Happold
Awards: Miami Bienal 2006 Silver Medal
See for more photos and drawings in the image gallery below.