The £35m Royal College of Physicians at The Spine in Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter (KQ Liverpool) has opened as one of the world’s healthiest buildings, using Waterloo’s industry-leading air distribution products.
Seven floors of this highly distinctive purpose-built office building, which has been designed by AHR to meet the international WELL Building Standard, will become the new northern home of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). The Spine is the gateway to KQ Liverpool’s Paddington Village site, a vibrant new health, technology and science community developed by Liverpool City Council that has brought together many influential organisations and revitalised this corner of the city centre.
Moving into The Spine marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the RCP’s 500-year history by establishing two beacons of excellence for the first time, one in London and one in Liverpool. This presents the RCP with exceptional opportunities to strengthen its standing as a world-class learning and assessment centre and to lead the improvement of patient care throughout the country.
With the goal of achieving the prestigious WELL Building Standard in mind, the concept and design of the air distribution system for the new building needed to meet the highest possible specification. Working with consulting engineers BDP throughout RIBA Design Stages 2 & 3, Waterloo’s North West Technical Sales Manager Tony Sherlock successfully helped to establish optimum air distribution solutions that were commensurate with this challenging architectural design.
A number of Waterloo’s innovative product options which would suit a wide array of feature ceiling types were considered. Through workshop sessions with the design team, the high-quality CS-F Linear Slot Diffuser was collectively agreed upon as a consistent visual approach for most of the building. A key advantage of the CS-F is that it could be carefully adapted to suit the various feature ceiling types and the plank tile ceiling systems designed for the new building by SAS International.
Other Waterloo products included in the air distribution design plans were Swirl Diffusers and Airline Linear Grilles, all of which were carefully selected and finished to suit the high-quality interior design throughout the building.
As part of the comprehensive collaboration that Waterloo offers to its partners, Tony Sherlock produced detailed technical schedules for all of the air terminal devices and plenum boxes for inclusion in the tender package to the project’s prospective MEP contractor.
Waterloo and BDP’s expert input helped to secure the contract and in November 2020 work began on-site on the mechanical, electrical and plumbing installation. Waterloo has continued to work closely with the contractor team to refine product selections, maintain accurate air terminal schedules, deliver best value and ensure adherence to the BDP design intent.
“One of the most important aspects of any successful project is reliable partnerships,” said Waterloo’s Tony Sherlock. “At Waterloo we always strive to deliver complete personal continuity throughout the project, from concept to handover. With the WELL Building Standard as a goal, we were fully confident that our air distribution system would be of the standard required to achieve this objective.”
Designed by AHR, with regional director Robert Hopkins as the lead, The Spine takes its name from a distinctive staircase visible from the outside which is similar in form to vertebrae, and the façade is made up of 23 million individual polygons that represent human skin. With the highest outlook of any building in Liverpool, The Spine commands stunning views across the city and beyond to Snowdonia, the Peak District, the Pennines and along the Lancashire coast.
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