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Stanley Dock is part of the Liverpool World Heritage City designation of historic docks along the River Mersey. Largely derelict for many years, the objective is to unlock the potential of this huge site, totalling over 2 million square feet of floor space and including the largest brick warehouse in the world.
The site lies 1.5km north of central Liverpool and is visible as a unique landmark both from the city centre and the River Mersey. It was developed in two main phases; the first including the main Dock and North and South Warehouses (Grade II and Grade II*) in 1848 by the legendary Jesse Hartley of Albert Dock fame, and the second, which involved filling in nearly half the dock with the enormous Tobacco Warehouse, in 1901.
The strategy used in approaching the site is to reconnect the buildings to the water by opening up the ground floor, particularly of the Tobacco Warehouse to allow pedestrian access to flow through from the South Warehouse to the dock and around its edge to the North Warehouse.
The most visible intervention is the addition of the light sails. These semi transparent structures are heliodons that track the sun and reflect light back onto the north face of the Tobacco Warehouse adding life and animation to the otherwise shaded deep water and sheer cliff face of the south side of the dock. The sails are similar in height and scale to the sails of clipper ships which docked here, their convex surfaces are intended to avoid creating hot spots and the form reflects a ship’s sails.
By retaining the massive brick volumes and making interventions that resonate with the grandeur of the site, the masterplan for the area intends to bring a 21st century sense of community and place to the monumental industrial architecture of the 19th century.