Brock Carmichael

The Albany, Liverpool

The complete conversion and extension of a Grade 2* listed former office warehouse building to create 116 contemporary apartments.

Albany Assets Ltd & Infinity Asset Management LLP

£9.5M

The Albany was originally constructed in 1856 for Richard Naylor, a banker, and was designed by J.K. Colling. It was built as a meeting place for cotton brokers, and contained offices and meeting rooms, together with warehousing facilities in the basement. It is one of the best and earliest of the large speculative Victorian office blocks in the City, successfully combining company offices with meeting rooms and basement warehouse accommodation, which was a specific requirement of the cotton trade at that time. Before the Cotton Exchange was built adjacent it formed the meeting place of cotton brokers who rented the offices.

The exterior is of polychrome brick with sandstone and polished granite dressings, embellished with carved foliage. The side elevations incorporate cast iron hoists that were originally for transferring cotton from street level to the basement warehouse storage.

Occupying a prominent city block at the foot of Old Hall Street it is in the heart of Liverpool’s Commerical Quarter.

The spacious internal courtyard is open to the sky and crossed by two elegant cast iron bridges, each approached by a delicate cast iron spiral staircase. The courtyard provided good light for the brokers to examine their cotton samples. The offices were reached from broad internal corridors, pierced by lightwells and lit from above.

A scheme to convert the building into residential use had been started by a previous owner but had been aborted. Part of the difficulty was that the original proposal was not financially viable. The building was acquired by a new owner and we devised a scheme that reconciled the viability problem with the Listed building constraints. This was done through enlarging the building, which originally comprised a basement and three upper floors, by developing a further floor of accommodation at roof level to create light and airy duplex apartments set back behind the original facades. These benefit from full height sliding doors which lead to a decked seating terrace. This solution enabled the creation of 116 contemporary apartments with mixed use to the ground and basement levels, giving a new life to the wide corridors, spacious staircases, imposing entrance archway and unique private courtyard.

The basement levels provide active an frontage to Old Hall Street with a number of commercial units . A horizontal extension behind an existing facade houses an innovative German multi-storey robotic stacker parking system, This provides 84 secure and controlled parking spaces.