Liverpool Architecture Festival starts this week

In 2021 the Liverpool Architecture Festival saw 600 people join lectures, workshops, walking and building tours and this year is set to double in size. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool Architecture Festival
A Herbert Rowse walking tour at the 2021 Liverpool Architecture Festival


Liverpool Architecture Festival starts on Monday, June 6, with more than 25 events taking place over the next four weeks.

Around 600 people attended events at the first festival in 2021. Between this week and Friday, July 1, 1,200 will attend a series of lectures, workshops, walking and building tours. There will also be open studios and a symposium on the potential listed buildings of the future.

City region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and award-winning design champion Paul Monaghan will join forces to support the bigger festival. Mr Monaghan is a Stirling Prize winning architect and director at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

It will showcase the Liverpool city region’s architectural heritage. And Liverpool Architecture Foundation and RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) are also supporting the festival.

Click here for more details about the Liverpool Architecture Festival

Mr Rotherham said: “From Port Sunlight on the Wirral to Lord Street in Southport, our region is fortunate to be home to some of the country’s – and the world’s – greatest architectural triumphs. We’re building on enviable foundations. However, it’s important that we also focus on what comes next.

“I want to make sure that we continue to innovate and advance our building design to create spaces that will not only enhance our skyline – but that improve the communities they are in. The buildings where we live, work, and socialise can have a massive impact on our livelihoods. That’s why it’s so important that we strive to be the very best.

“Last year’s festival was a massive success and gave us the opportunity to celebrate our world-renowned architectural heritage. I want this year’s showcase to go even further and stimulate the debate around what good design is.

“That’s why I appointed Paul Monaghan, a local lad who has become one of the country’s leading architects, as our first design champion. I know that like me, Paul has big ambitions for the future of the Liverpool city region. I can’t wait to see that creativity and passion on full display.”

On Monday, June 6, a walking tour of Liverpool’s two cathedrals will launch the festival. Festival directors Mathew Giles and Lizzie Edge will then deliver a presentation. This will be followed by a Q&A with Paul Monaghan and Combined Authority chief executive Katherine Fairclough.

READ MORE: Trio of Liverpool build projects win RICS awards

“Mayor Steve Rotheram appointed me as the Liverpool city region design champion,” said Mr Monaghan. “He recognised that the bar for design needed to be raised for new developments. This festival galvanises the extensive architectural community and is an important driver for change.

“I was brought up in Liverpool and have been lucky enough to design several buildings. These include  the Alder Centre for the children’s hospital and the refurbishment of the Royal Court Theatre. My experiences are that the city welcomes good design.


Paul Monaghan
Architect Paul Monaghan, the Liverpool city region ‘design champion’
Water Street
Liverpool is home to some stunning architecture. Picture by Tony McDonough


“Liverpool also has a thriving emerging architectural scene which I have been keen to promote. I am delighted that last year’s inaugural Liverpool Architecture Festival was such a success.”

Walking tours will highlight the work of celebrated architects, such as Herbert Rowse. He was famous for designing buildings such as Hope Street’s Philharmonic Hall, India Buildings and Martins Bank Building.

Modernist architecture, ranging from the University of Liverpool campus to the historic business district, will be celebrated with tours hosted by Dominic Wilkinson, of the Modernist Society.

Building tours by the Liverpool Architecture Society will see architects present their work to other architects. Among the guided tours are explorations of Liverpool’s Bluecoat, Birkenhead Priory, and award winning The Bunker off Edge lane.

Mathew Giles, founder, and co-director of the festival, said: “LAF22 will build on the sell-out success of the launch festival in October 2021. This summer’s festival is free for everyone from across the Liverpool city region, and beyond.

“We have already sold out a number of events evidencing the thirst and enthusiasm that people in the region have for their built environment.”

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