Brock Carmichael

Respecting and resurrecting a Liverpool legend

27 June 2016

It takes courage to take on a legend. How do you improve on something that’s stood the test of time for over 100 years? How do you make your mark on a design that’s as elegant and enchanting today as it was the day its doors first opened? Reinvent it for a new generation? Well, if you are a Liverpool architect practice like Brock Carmichael, the answer is you don’t.

liverpool_architects_brock_carmichael_ogdens_tobacco_factoryLike so many X-Factor contestants of the past have learned, imitating your idols is easy, achieving the same level of success and longevity is not. And yet, it’s possible to see further when standing on the shoulders of giants, to take something once great and give it new purpose. And, unlike so many X-Factor contestants of the past, we do this by simply respecting the material we are presented with.

The former Ogden’s Tobacco Factory on Boundary Lane in Everton is one such project that requires a certain type of care. A Grade II listed, Queen Anne-style 19th century building with incredible detail and historical features, it has so much beauty and potential, that one can’t help but be excited by the prospect of not only securing its long term future, but using it to create striking, functional housing, while protecting what makes it so special.

Our work on the project to date has involved looking at how to make the most appropriate use of the space to create 19 unique apartments within the factory, while keeping the amount of internal and external conversion to a minimum. Keeping these changes relatively modest has been challenging, but also an essential part of our bid to reflect the rich history of the Ogden’s Tobacco Factory.

And while we’re delighted that proposals for the offices that will house these 19 apartments will now come to fruition, we’re equally thrilled at the prospect of seeing the wider site plans realised. The removal of the surrounding factory structures will allow Countryside Properties and Liverpool Mutual Homes to create 133 much-needed two, three and four-bedroom properties, that will add to the investment to the area and encourage further regeneration.

With the iconic Tobacco Factory office at its heart, this development will be a shining example of how conservation architecture can celebrate the past and look to the future. A building of the people that lived and breathed for over a century, we look forward to seeing it live and breathe once again.

Martin Watson