Reynaers curtain walling and architectural aluminium systems played a significant role in the recent £50 million PFI restoration and redevelopment of the historic Liverpool Central Library.
The complex task of remodelling the Grade II listed library as well as retaining its historic façade was carried out by Shepherd Construction as part of the Inspire Partnership, a joint venture with International Public Partnerships, which also included architects Austin-Smith:Lord and Cofely Facilities Management services.
As well as its listing the building is in a UNESCO World Heritage location so the scheme utilised advanced methods and materials in the restoration of important historic features while adding bold new additions, and working with high levels of consideration for the neighbours, workforce and the environment.
Demolition of the 1950’s sections of the library made way for the stunning new five storey facility housing the reading and information floors, cafe, meeting rooms, atrium and roof terrace. It also includes a state-of-the-art, purpose-built, climate controlled repository that houses Liverpool Record Office where some of the city’s most historic treasures from the last 800 years are stored. Built in accordance with the latest British Standards for Repository and Archive storage, the area requires consistent levels of temperature, ventilation and humidity in order to preserve the priceless collection of historical records.
While externally the building retains its period grandeur the stunning new extension brings a floor to ceiling atrium which along with vertical runs of curtain walling provides a naturally bright environment that enhances the appeal and openness of the redeveloped library. The expansive aluminium curtain wall, utilising Reynaers CW 50 thermally improved system, gives clean unhindered views and opens up the interior to the historic areas of the library bringing them into renewed public use.
Main entrance doors on the project feature Reynaers Vision 50 system designed to accommodate heavy usage in public places.
“To see the building transformed from a tired, dark venue into a stunning, welcoming library has been wonderful,” said Councillor Wendy Simon, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism. “The intricate work which has been undertaken has been magnificent. It is a real credit to all those involved that Liverpool now has one of the most modern, attractive and user-friendly libraries and records office in the UK.”
The restoration redevelopment has attained a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating and won considerable praise for it sympathetic design and construction management.
“Landmark projects such as Liverpool’s new library proves the scope and adaptability of our extensive range of curtain wall systems,” explained Paul Duffy, Reynaers Sales Director. “Not only do they merge seamlessly with new design concepts but they are just as at home in period locations adding to the sustainability and thermal insulation of a building while facilitating the ingress of natural light.”