'Drafting' new ideas for Southport!

Last December we worked with Liverpool Architecture Foundation on their latest ‘Drafts & Draughts’ event inspired by Southport. Teams of professionals and students were invited to design a new future for three sites in the Southport Townscape Heritage area. Pizza and poetic presentations were involved! Read on to find out what they came up with…

Creative pressure.

The three areas selected in central Southport were:

  • a small section of Lord Street with verandahs and the municipal gardens;
  • Nevill Street, including the vacant section of the former Victoria Baths;
  • Scarisbrick Avenue, including the parking lot at the Promenade end, interpreted as a vacant site.

These sites were specifically selected to promote awareness of the Southport Townscape Heritage Project. It was an opportunity to inspire people from across the area to discover Southport’s heritage and promote the work we are doing to bring new life to historic buildings on Southport’s streets.

The challenge for the teams was to select one or more of the three sites and come up with a regeneration design to revitalize the area. Their proposals could involve redesigning the public realm, adapting historic buildings for new uses, new construction or anywhere their imaginations took them. Three timed rounds required quick thinking to draw, model and write about their ideas – which they then had to present to the judges as poems, raps or songs!

A new Winter Gardens?

The result was an incredibly varied selection of ideas including markets, making spaces and well-being areas. The judges were looking for the preservation of historical and architectural features, as well as community, inclusivity and climate considerations. The judging panel was made up of a mix of built environment professionals and stakeholders local to the proposed site:

  • Joe Clayton, Architect at Clayton Architecture – head judge;
  • Myriam Lahnite, Urban designer at Plait-ie;
  • Paul Adams, CEO of The Vincent and Carbon Climate Solutions Ltd;
  • Lucy Wood, Graduate Planner at Sefton Council;
  • Agustina Solassi, Conservation Officer at Sefton Council.

Facing the judges…

And the winner was…!

From the five groups that participated, one design for Nevill Street stood out to the judges. The winning team had a well-balanced presentation which consisted of the adaptive reuse of the former Victoria Baths as a community venue and the revitalization of Nevill Street through the construction of a contemporary high scale arcade which united the shops of the entire street.

The winning design!

The proposed development acknowledged the sense of community and inclusivity by providing a new space for the public. It considered climate change through the use of natural and recycled materials as well as the re-use of a vacant building which helps with the reduction of carbon emissions. And it brought back one of Southport historic features – the ‘arcade’ – in a modern way, conserving the heritage of the historic area. Although there was a winning team, all the presentations were creative and provided amazing designs for the area. We even got to listen to some amazing raps and songs!

Thank you to all the participants for sharing your designs with us. Frederick’s in Liverpool City Centre kindly provided us with the space plus some free drinks and pizza! The evening was inspiring and full of great ideas that we are surely going to consider – you’ll find more photos on LAF’s instagram. We are looking forward to organizing another event and working again with the Liverpool Architecture Foundation.

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