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National Museums waterfront project announces six shortlisted teams

2 years ago

By The Guide Liverpool

National Museums waterfront project announces six shortlisted teams

National Museums Liverpool (NML) has today announced six teams that have been shortlisted to take part in Stage 2 of the Waterfront Transformation Project: Canning Dock competition.

A visually stunning location with a powerful heritage narrative that has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status, it is NML’s ambition to create a cohesive visitor experience that links storytelling, heritage, community, connectivity, and commercial income. It will be a catalyst for social and environmental improvements in the area.

The competition, managed by Colander Associates, is supported by £120,000 of funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRA), as part of their Race Equality Programme. Taking in key landmarks, including the creation of pedestrian links to the Canning Dock, and bringing life to multiple buildings within the area, the brief for the project drew on the complexities of the site.  Landscape designers, architects, engineers, artists and other designers were invited to submit an approach to design that acknowledges innovation, inclusion, excellence, and delight.

Following an open call, which was launched in April 2021, the six shortlisted teams were identified from an extremely impressive pool of over 30 applicants, including both UK and international teams. And while it was no easy task for the jurors to reach the shortlist, they are confident that they have found six teams that will produce a range of inspiring and exciting responses to the Stage 2 competition brief.

One of the jurors Ngunan Adamu (BBC Journalist and Founder of iWoman Academy CIC) commented:

“The Waterfront competition has been the toughest competition I’ve had to judge so far. The passion and incredibly high standard of applications has shown what a great city Liverpool is and just how much the docks mean, for not just the citizens of Liverpool, but the international community too.

“Trying to whittle down the applications was very difficult as they were all so brilliant and unique in their own way; it literally came down to the wire.”

Canning Dock
Picture – Gareth Jones

The project addresses four aspects of the Canning Dock waterfront which include: the public realm, (including a public art strategy), pedestrian bridges between Mann Island and Hartley quay, the Graving docks and North shed; threading history, placemaking and commercial activity throughout.

The six shortlisted teams were selected by the judging panel, chaired by Paul Monaghan: Liverpool City Region, Design Champion and Founder of AHMM and including local representatives as well as industry experts.

The judging panel members are:

  1. Sir David  Henshaw,  Chairman of National Museums Liverpool
  1. Paul Monaghan,  Liverpool City Region, Design Champion; Founder of AHMM
  1. Annie Coombs,  Landscape Architect and Fellow of the Landscape Institute
  1. Ngunan  Adamu, Producer and Presenter at BBC Radio Merseyside
  1. Jubeda  Khatun,  Artistic Director of Blackfest
  1. Marcus Chaloner,  Urban Design Manager at Canal and River Trust
  1. Erika Rushton, Creative Economist working in Liverpool

Dr Martin Luther King entrance

Co-chair of the Northwest’s Design Review Panel and Design Council Ambassador, Annie Coombs, commented:

“As a Liverpudlian myself, I loved the inventiveness of some of the engagement ideas; the appreciation of the individuality of being Scouse and the acknowledgement that history (good and bad) needs recognition. It was a challenge to shortlist six. I am excited to see what emerges next in design terms.”

Those going through to Stage 2 are led by: Arup; Asif Khan Architects; BIG; DSDHA; OMMX; and Shedkm. A full list of each team is included below.

Chair of the Jury Panel, Paul Monaghan, commented:

“The standard of entries for the competition were of a very high calibre which made shortlisting very difficult. However, the final six shortlisted teams range from international to local, established to up-and-coming, and all the teams showed great diversity in their team members. I am looking forward to seeing what the shortlisted team produce for the second stage of the competition.”

Amongst many things, in Stage 2, the jury panel will want to understand how each shortlisted team will approach the challenges and the opportunities inherent in this project, how they plan to interact with local stakeholders and community members while addressing pertinent issues such as the history of the site, diversity, sustainability, accessibility, and openness. Through co-design, the multidisciplinary teams will need to demonstrate how they will create a space that is for education, play and for identity. A place where people from all walks of life will feel welcome, respected, and included.


Each finalist team will receive a £10,000 honorarium and £5,000 for an interactive installation on the Canning Dock waterfront. They will be asked to submit details of their approach to the project including a short video and a single image that captures their understanding of the project’s ethos, and the character of the spaces that they would like to create on the waterfront. The competition will culminate in the teams attending an interview with the Jury Panel.

The teams will also engage with the community and receive public feedback when they present their installations on the dockside in mid-July 2021. A Community Panel will review the Stage 2 submissions through a facilitated workshop and feed its thoughts through to the Jury Panel for consideration in its final deliberations.

 An appointment is expected to be made in late September 2021.


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