Work begins on £35m Royal College of Physicians HQ in Liverpool

Known as ‘The Spine’, the 160,000 sq ft facility takes its name from its striking staircase that resembles human vertebrae and will be one of the healthiest workspaces in the UK. Tony McDonough reports

Paddington Village
Image of ‘The Spine’, the new £35m headquarters in for the Royal College of Physicians

 

Work has started on the new £35m headquarters in for the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) being built in Liverpool’s £2bn Knowledge Quarter (KQ Liverpool).

Known as ‘The Spine’, the 160,000 sq ft facility takes its name from a striking staircase on its north elevation that resembles human vertebrae and it is claimed it will be one of the healthiest workspaces for mental and physical wellbeing in the UK.

Flexible workspaces

When it opens its doors in 2020 the building, being constructed within the Paddington Village Mayoral Development Zone, will see the RCP occupy 70,000 sq ft of space on the bottom three and top four storeys.

The remaining seven floors will offer a flexible range of workspaces designed to meet the needs of organisations in the health, science and education sectors.

It will 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 car parking for 50 spaces featuring five electric charging points.

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 11,550 sq ft, will enjoy some of the best views of the city thanks to floor-to-ceiling glazing throughout.

It t is hoped that it will be among the first buildings in the UK to achieve the international WELL standard of modern building design.

Planning process

Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure, contracted by Liverpool City Council to deliver the Paddington Village scheme, 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 WELL standard.

CBRE and GVA have been appointed as joint agents on the Paddington Village scheme and a new marketing brochure has been produced to launch at MIPIM UK, the property conference in London, later this week.

Professor Jane Dacre performed the groundbreaking ceremony, with the Mayor of Liverpool, in one of her last official duties before handing over the presidency of the RCP to Professor Bod Goddard.

Royal College of Physicians
Groundbreaking for The Spine at Paddington Village with Prof Jane Dacre and Mayor of Liverpool

 

New chapter

Prof Goddard said: “I am lucky to have become president at a time when the RCP has both been celebrating its 500th anniversary and is also about to open a brand new chapter in its history with an amazing building that will embody our commitment to wellbeing as we bring high quality research, medical training, examination and conference facilities to Liverpool and work more closely with our regional members.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson added: “It’s a landmark moment for them and the city of Liverpool. The Spine is going to be an outstanding building and a real statement of our intent to deliver a world class medical research hub at Paddington Village.”

And Colin Sinclair, chief executive of KQ Liverpool, said: “Attracting the RCP to The Spine at Paddington Village is the perfect example of how we can successfully collaborate across Liverpool to support private and public initiatives in health, tech and science.”

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