National Wildflower Centre Liverpool

National Wildflower Centre Liverpool, Building Competition, Proposals, Architect

National Wildflower Centre : RIBA Design Competition

Winner : New Liverpool Architecture, England, UK

9 Mar 2009

National Wildflower Centre Liverpool

Winner Announced for National Wildflower Centre International Competition

Ian Simpson Architects with Adams Kara Taylor Engineers and Hoare Lea Engineers has been announced as winners of the competition to design a new innovative, architecturally striking educational, conference and seed production complex at the National Wildflower Centre in Knowsley, part of the Liverpool City Region which is intended to be one of the first buildings in the country to be rated BREEAM “Outstanding”.

National Wildflower Centre

Following the shortlisting from almost 150 international entries at Stage 1, Ian Simpson Architects’ team, which also included Adams Kara Taylor Engineers, Hoare Lea Engineers and cost support from Cyril Sweett, fought off strong competition from the other five shortlisted practices, including DM3 Architecture; Kirkland Fraser Moor; Nicolas Tye Architects; Studio Verna and Urban Salon Architects

Sue Carmichael, RIBA Adviser commented: “The six shortlisted practices in the rapid four week Stage two stage responded enthusiastically to both the generic and individual searching questions from by the panel designed to promote further evolution of the initial sketch concepts and challenge their deliverability.

After a full day of presentations and questions the judging panel unanimously decided that Ian Simpson’s team was the winning proposal. Their powerful fibonacci generated spiral solution has a dramatic wild flower head inspired conference centre focus; a distinctive and memorable architectural statement cleverly combining the brief’s organic and mathematical themes. The compact building which tightly hugs the North West boundary extends a curved sweep to the wildflower garden which both welcomes visitors through its intimate external and internal ante spaces and also acts as strong counterpoint to the existing award winning Millennium building. The potent combination of The National Wildflower Centre as a visionary client of high national reputation and Ian Simpson’s innovative concept backed by his capable team should result in a building which is a groundbreaking ‘green’ exemplar, an inspiring mathematics education resource and a favourite visitor and conference destination.”

Grant Luscombe, Chief Executive of Landlife said “I am delighted that the jury panel has selected the public’s favourite design. Inspired by the Fibonacci spirals that nature uses to place seeds on a seed head, petals on a flower and leaves on a stem, the building itself will help people understand connections between maths and nature. Entering the ‘flower head’ structure will be an inspirational experience by demonstrating how artists, architects and engineers over the centuries have used the simple angles and numerical sequences found in wildflowers. Ian Simpson has designed a beautiful addition to our National Wildflower Centre, thanks to North West Development Agency support and its commitment to sustainable development. As a result, I find it a really exciting prospect that Knowsley, the borough internationally acclaimed for making new wildflower meadows, will now also become home to the greenest conference venue in the country.”

Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), who have helped to judge the competition, said: “The winning proposal is a stunning and powerful design which will work well with the existing buildings at the National Wildflower Centre. This innovative new complex will not only help to significantly improve the National Wildflower Centre offer, but also aims to provide a unique learning environment for visitors. The NWDA is looking forward to seeing the winning design progress to the next stage.”Ian Simpson, Director of Ian Simpson Architects said “We are delighted to have won this international design competition which has underpinned our commitment to an integrated approach, combining truly sustainable design with beautiful architecture.”

21 Jan 2009

National Wildflower Centre Competition Shortlist

The RIBA is delighted to announce the shortlist in the international competition to design a new innovative, architecturally striking educational, conference and seed production complex at the National Wildflower Centre in Knowsley, part of the Liverpool City Region.

144 entries were received from all over the world including India, Australia, Argentina, Japan and the USA. This is one of the highest number of submissions for an open design competition in recent years, and is indicative of the unique nature of the scheme and its location. Six teams have now been shortlisted for the second stage design phase and these teams are (in alphabetical order):

DM3 Architecture, Bath
Ian Simpson Architects, Manchester
Kirkland Fraser Moor, Hertfordshire
Nicolas Tye Architects, Bedfordshire
Studio Verna Architects, Lancashire
Urban Salon Architects, London

The proposed new facility will inspire and encourage people to learn about the relationships between nature, mathematics and physics and will significantly improve the National Wildflower Centre offer through:Outstanding architecture with inherent sustainable build and design principles;
A new centre of excellence for learning and an operational hub for creative conservation, wildflower production and innovation;
Nationally important green conference facilities; and
Exemplar energy generation.
Grant Luscombe from Landlife said: “The occurrence of the golden section in nature provided the inspiration for the National Wildflower Centre in Knowsley to use wildflowers as a means of stimulating interest in mathematics and physics. We are delighted that the shortlisted entries have used these aspirations to deliver a golden selection of designs to inspire and amaze. They have exceeded all our expectations, conceiving forms, shapes and functions to rival that manifest in nature itself.”

Sue Carmichael, RIBA Adviser commented: “An inspirational and demanding brief attracted 144 entries of remarkable creative diversity, many exploiting the inherent potential of mathematical and botanical symbolism in their approach. The short listing process itself was both a delight and a challenge, particularly at the long list of 15 stage when the debate really intensified. The shortlist of 6, when revealed, included several emerging practices. The Jury Panel eagerly await to see which of these exciting initial visionary sketches evolve into deliverable solutions at the next stage.”

Richard Tracey, Senior Regeneration Executive at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), who helped to judge the competition, said:

“Good design has a vital role to play in regeneration, creating new and unique facilities to improve the local environment. This innovative new complex will not only help to significantly improve the National Wildflower Centre offer, but also aims to provide a unique learning environment for visitors. The Agency is looking forward to seeing these designs progress to the next stage.”

The shortlisted designs will be submitted in February 2009 with final presentations held in March.

17 Nov 2008

National Wildflower Centre International Open Design Competition

The RIBA Competitions Office is pleased to announce the launch of a new international open competition for the design of an innovative, architecturally striking educational, conference and seed production complex at the National Wildflower Centre, off Junction 5 of the M62 in the Liverpool City Region within the administrative Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley. The client for the competition is Landlife with funding of £100,000 for the competition provided by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).

Entries are invited from architects or architect-led teams, which will be judged anonymously at the First Stage. The authors of up to six schemes will then be invited to develop their design proposals and present them to a Jury Panel at interview. Each Stage Two competitor will receive an honorarium of £6,000.

For further information on how to enter the competition, please contact the RIBA Competitions Office on +44(0)113-234-1335. The deadline for Stage One submissions is 7 January 2009.

National Wildflower Centre Liverpool image / information from RIBA

Ian Simpson

26 Aug 2016
National Wildflower Centre in Knowsley
Design: Matteo Cainer Architects
Papaver National Wildflower Centre
image from architects

National Wildflower Centre in Knowsley
The design of the new educational, conference and seed production complex, responds both to the site as well as the orientation and geometries of the existing buildings.

Liverpool Tower


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