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Municipal Building

Heritage & Refurbishment
"Russell WBHO employs a ‘one-team’ collaborative approach, bringing together in-house expertise, sub-contractors, suppliers, partner professionals, our clients and their representatives to deliver consistently successful projects."


Fact 1 Create luxury 180 bedroom hotel from existing council building in Liverpool city centre

Fact 2 New 4 story extension to hold additional bedrooms and leisure facilities including swimming pool and spa facilities

Fact 3 Extensive upgrading works to existing structure to ensure compliance with current legislations

  • Project Status: Live
  • Location: Liverpool
  • Client: Fragrance UK
  • Architect: Falconer Chester Hall Architects

The Challenge

17,000m2 conversion of a Grade 2* listed ex council building into a boutique hotel, in Liverpool City Centre

The building dates back to 1868 and was the home to Liverpool City Council from completion in 1868 until their eventual departure in 2017. It is an excellent example of a mid-19th century corporation office consolidating and integrating all the various council departments and staff under one roof. The vast scale of the building and high quality eclectic design, incorporating gothic, classical and French influences, produced a commanding building, reflecting the importance of the city at this time.

Municipal Building

The high quality interior retains a significant number of features reflecting the wealth and status of Liverpool Corporation, including decorative vaulted and coffered ceilings, friezes and marble fireplaces depicting reliefs of Liver birds and Queen Victoria, tile dados resembling polished parquetry, strong rooms, a former muniments room with metal window shutters and a striking basilica-like main hall.

The building is constructed of sandstone with a rock-faced granite plinth. The building’s quadrangular plan incorporates projecting three-bay pavilions to each of the four corners, with French-style curved roofs, and a clock tower to the centre of the Dale Street elevation. On the Dale Street elevation are placed sculptured figures to represent art, industry, engineering skill, plenty, navigation, and science, (all industries associated with Liverpool) while in other prominent positions are placed figures representing the inhabitants of the four quarters of the globe. Externally the elevations to Dale Street, Sir Thomas Street and Crosshall Street are of high significance and minimal intervention is proposed.

The conversion of such an iconic building requires a sensitive refurbishment of which Russell WBHO specialize. The highly decorative spaces and existing window patterns are integral to the new design and dictate the division of rooms across the scheme. The grand entrance will remain on Dale Street and will open out into the vast new palm court, utilising the scale and exquisite features within this space. Russell WBHO have worked closely with FCH Architects, Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture and Liverpool City Council to develop a scheme which on balance respects and does not cause a significant level of harm to the existing building and allows this Grand old building to be re-energised and brought back to its former glory.

The new 4 storey extension to the rear of the building is sympathetic to the existing building mass and will allow a clear demarcation between the original, listed building and the new. The design and configuration of the extension is banded to pick up and compliment the language and massing of the existing building elevations. The new extension is a steel frame construction, wrapped in modern bronze cladding and curtain walling with extended feature mullions. The extension will house the new swimming pool, gym and spa facilities, plus an additional 24 bedrooms. It will also provide a covered drop-off zone and plant rooms.

Afrani Factsheet
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