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Welsh Church, Liverpool

Client: KIND

Location: Liverpool

Cost: £5m

Area: 3,500 sqm

Project Type: Community / Heritage & Culture

This project will see the transformation of the 1867 former church into a new home for KIND’s (Kids in Need & Distress) Children’s Centre, following the award of £250,000 in Stage 1 National Lottery Heritage funding. The William and George Audsley-designed site was an important focus point for Liverpool’s Welsh community until its closure in the interwar period and is one of the most significant At Risk buildings in the city. The KIND charity, which has been based nearby inside the former Liverpool City Farm for the past 25 years and provides support to poor and disadvantaged young people, is seeking to relocate to the site.

Early conversations with KIND identified the key importance of creating a green oasis directly accessible from internal teaching areas, not simply seeking to replicate school provision but offering inspirational and inclusive experiences. These conversations also considered the kinds of enriched open space provision that might further the aspirations of the organisation with reference to school and play Good Practice guidance including Learning Through Landscapes and Grounds for Learning approaches.

The main sequence of spaces are arranged around the south and east of the site; here the distinct components of the distilled Cheshire & Merseyside landscape (Salt Marshes, Cheshire Plain & Woodlands, and Cheshire Garden) provide structured space for activities linked by a range of pathways encouraging playful engagement with the environment to create a journey. At the centre of the scheme is a Dipping Pond and a generous artificial lawn area. These spaces will include prompts to the curriculum such as a range of Oak types (to articulate ‘Similar but Different’), plant collections (biomes) referencing the biodiversity of Cheshire countryside, and sustainable landscape solutions such as permeable paving and green roofs.

The developed masterplan captures the ambition for the new site through shaping a multilayered landscape which aligns the requirements of the brief, the mission and ethos of the client organisation, and the incredible heritage narrative of this city level building.

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