Alfred Waterhouse lives on in Liverpool

Travel is a muse for many, not least architects, and so it was I made my maiden voyage to Liverpool in early March to this incredible city. As the Eurovision Contest turns its attention to its host city in early May,  word on the street is that the newly opened Radisson Red hotel shall be putting up many of its contestants. 

This magnificent French chateau-style building was completed in 1871 as the North Western Halls adjacent Liverpool’s Lime Street train station, with in excess of 300-bedrooms. Designed by the prolific Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse, himself from Liverpool, the building was slated for demolition in the mid-1970’s, despite being Grade II listed in 1952 – read the list description here. All credit goes to SAVE Britain’s Heritage who recognised the importance of the building in an era when Victorian architecture had fallen out of favour, and campaigned to save it. You can read more on this inspiring story here

Alfred Waterhouse designed this early in his career, indeed, he was only 41 when the hotel was opened. The rather formal facade conceals internal grandeur which includes a sweeping staircase beneath a stained glass atrium roof, and a soaring stairwell directly above the reception. I enjoyed the stunning interiors from the breakfast room, and all credit to Manchester interior designers Koncept who have excelled at creating a sophisticated scheme, with humour and elegance.

After leading the design team for the refurbishment of Waterhouse’s Holborn Bars (which dates from the late 1890’s) when at EPR Architects – click here to view the project – I have increasingly crossed paths with Waterhouse – not least as I can view one from my house in Reading! Liverpool is an incredible city to visit for anyone keen on history, architecture, urban design or art and I really must return for more of its magic.