Five must-see buildings in Liverpool

For people living in areas like the Wirral and Chester, there are many examples of great buildings just a short journey away in Liverpool. These range from the old to the new and help the city maintain a special appeal among architecture lovers.

If you are in Liverpool for only a short period of time, then these are the five must-see buildings and building developments in the famous city

1. The Liver Building

The Liver Building dominates Liverpool’s River Mersey waterfront. When it was built in 1911, it was the tallest building in Europe. It was commissioned for the Royal Liver Assurance group and took three years to build at a cost of £533,000.

The iconic building was designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas and constructed using what was then a revolutionary technique called the Hennebique Principle, named after its inventor Francois Hennebique. Self-contained concrete frames support a network of columns and steel beams, and it is one of the earliest examples of using multistorey reinforced concrete in large building.

At the top of the building is a large tower that contains four impressive clock faces. This is named ‘The Great George’ and was constructed to honour King George V’s coronation. The clock was started at the exact moment of the King’s coronation.

A striking feature of the building is the pair of Liver Bird figures that are now regarded as the symbols of Liverpool. Legend says that if the Liver Birds were to fly away, then Liverpool would fall into the River Mersey.

Although the Liver Building retains its classical Baroque and Byzantine style exterior, inside it has been extensively renovated to blend modern and classical styles. It is now home to a number of commercial tenants.

2. St George’s Hall

St George’s Hall is opposite Liverpool’s Lime Street Station. Built in Neoclassical style, it is regarded as one of the world’s finest examples of a neo-Grecian building.

It all started in 1836 when a company was formed to promote the idea of a hall in Liverpool for meetings, festivals and concerts. A competition to design the hall was won in 1839 by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, an architect based in London who was only 25 years old.

Elmes’ vision was for a building larger than any pubic building in the country at the time. Building work on the hall commenced in 1841 and opened in 1854. Sadly, Elmes died in 1847, before he could witness the opening of the hall.

The main area of the hall is the central concert room, with a smaller concert room at the north end. The building also houses courts and jury rooms, where court proceedings were held up until 1984.

The hall was closed for a while for restorations and reopened in 2007. In January 2008, to mark Liverpool’s status as European Capital of Culture, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr played on the building’s roof.

3. Radio City Tower

In 1969, the Radio City Tower was opened by Queen Elizabeth II. Formerly known as St. John’s Beacon, the tower was designed by James. A Roberts. At 454ft high, it is Britain’s 32nd tallest building, and Liverpool’s second highest.

The foundation of the tower is a simple sandstone structure. Near the top of the tower is a former revolving restaurant, and an observation platform was situated on the roof of the restaurant.

In 1999, the tower was refurbished at a cost of £5m and now houses the stations Radio City and Magic. The restaurant has been converted into radio studios and the observation deck has been transformed into offices and conference rooms. There is a viewing gallery near the top of the tower that is open to the public.

4. Liverpool One

Liverpool One is not a single building, but a modern development of shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, and residential buildings by Liverpool’s waterfront.

The project was developed on 42 acres of land in Liverpool city centre that was not being utilised fully.
Opened in 2008, It is one of the largest open-air shopping centres in Britain and cost £500m to construct. The project is divided into six districts:

•    Hannover Street is an informal space where several derelict buildings and street market have been restored
•    Peter’s Lane is a modern development of retail shops arranged around squares
•    New Manesty’s Lane is a street of retail stores
•    Paradise Street is a wide pedestrian street that features the large John Lewis store
•    South John Street has two levels of shops and a multiplex cinema
•    Finally, the Park features many restaurants and conceals a large underground car park.

5. Albert Dock

The Albert Dock is a complex of dock buildings and warehouses that have been renovated. The original area was open in 1846 and featured the first buildings in Britain to be built from brick, stone and cast iron instead of using wood. This also made the buildings the first noncombustible ones in the world.

Ships docked and unloaded their cargo directly to the warehouses using the world’s first hydraulic cranes.

During the Second World War, the docks were used by boats of the British Atlantic Fleet and the buildings suffered damage from German bombers.

After the War, the docks gradually declined and closed in 1972. In 1981, the Merseyside Development Corporation began redevelopment of the docks, Which were officially re-opened in 1984.

The docks are now a tourist attraction and house the Tate Liverpool gallery, the Maritime Museum, the Slavery Museum and the Beatles Story. There are also a number of bars, restaurants and shops in the complex.

More buildings to see

Liverpool has a rich architectural heritage, historic and modern, and these five building developments are examples of the finest Liverpool architecture. However, there are many more notable buildings in Liverpool to admire. These include the Bank of England Building, Liverpool’s Town Hall, and the Cunard Building.

There are also many fine example of church architecture, notably Liverpool Cathedral and the modern Metropolitan cathedral.

To see and appreciate the architecture of Liverpool requires spending a lot of quality time in this fascinating Northern city.

Posted by Mark
December 29, 2016

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