MIPIM: £35m Royal College of Physicians HQ in Liverpool will be one of the UK’s healthiest buildings

Known as ‘The Spine’ the 160,000 sq ft building is due for completion by 2020 and it takes its name from a striking staircase on its north elevation that resembles human vertebrae. Tony McDonough reports

Royal College of Physicians
The Spine at KQ Liverpool will be one of healthiest buildings in the UK


New details have been revealed about the new £35m northern headquarters of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) – a centrepiece of Liverpool’s £1bn Knowledge Quarter project.

When it opens its doors in the Paddington Village are of KQ Liverpool in 2020 the building, which will be kown as ‘The Spine’ will be one of the healthiest workspaces for mental and physical wellbeing in the UK.

Striking staircase

The 160,000 sq ft facility takes its name from a striking staircase on its north elevation that resembles human vertebrae. KQ Liverpool unveiled the design on the Liverpool stand at the MIPIM international property expo in Cannes.

While the bottom three and top four storeys of The Spine will become a 70,000 sq ft centre of clinical excellence for the RCP, the remaining seven floors will offer a flexible range of workspaces for firms in the health, science and education sectors.

The building will feature a timber curtain wall designed to reconnect people with nature and a ceramic frit façade, complete with 23m unique polygons that mimic human skin and react to the local environment to control noise and glare.

It will also boast an internal sky garden, complete with high-oxygen producing plants, a fine dining restaurant available for private hire, a large bicycle and shower facility and under croft parking.

Exhibition space

A dedicated mezzanine exhibition space will connect via a spiral staircase to a ground floor café and foyer, while each of the floors, which are circa 11,560 sq ft, will enjoy some of the best views of the city thanks to floor-to-ceiling glazing throughout.

Morgan Sindall is working in partnership with Liverpool City Council to deliver the Paddington Village scheme. Phase one is now underway and involves the installation of infrastructure, public realm works and the creation of development plots to make them market-ready.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has approved in principle a £12m grant towards the cost of the £20m enabling works contract.

Phase two

Phase two will see the arrival of The Spine. Morgan Sindall has instigated the planning process and consultant appointments for the building and last year competitively appointed AHR Architects and Arup to design the building and advise on how to achieve the prestigious WELL standard.

GVA and CBRE have also  been appointed as joint agents on the Paddington Village scheme.

KQ Liverpool
The Spine at in Paddington Village will be the Northern headquarters of the Royal College of Physicians


Professor Jane Dacre, president of the RCP, said: “The development of our new Liverpool home is really beginning to gather pace and the confirmation of its name feels like another important step forward.

“The building will bring high quality research, medical training, examination and conference facilities to the city, marking a crucial milestone in our objective to work more closely with our regional members.”

‘Crucial step’

Colin Sinclair, chief executive of KQ Liverpool, added: “The Spine is another crucial step forward in our determination to attract the very best organisations and talent from around the globe, as well as creating thousands of jobs for the people of Liverpool.

“It’s a great example of the Mayor’s vision combining successfully in a powerful partnership with the city’s universities and hospitals, as well as new partners such as Morgan Sindall and the RCP.”

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