TWO very different Liverpool landmarks were shortlisted for prestigious north west architecture awards.
Mann Island, the new boy on the block of Liverpool’s iconic waterfront, and the refurbished Victorian splendour of the Florence Institute, in Toxteth, will compete for a RIBA 2013 award by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
The Florence Institute for Boys, known affectionately as The Florrie, was saved from years of neglect by a dedicated team of locals and triumphantly reopened last year as a community hub and exhibition centre.
The sleek modern lines of the £120m Mann Island project represent a different type of architectural achievement.
Comprised of two wedge-shaped residential blocks containing 376 apartments, plus a 13-storey office building, it was designed by Broadway Malyan.
As a close neighbour of the Three Graces its stark design remains controversial for many.
The Florrie’s general manager Femi Sowande said: “Purcell were the main architects for 10 years and did a lot of work at the beginning to see what we could get out of the building. Most of the material is from 1889 if it was useable and a lot of it was used.
“We do make a distinction in that it is a restoration, not a rebuild or a renovation. We have tried to restore it back to its old glory.
“I think it’s a wonderful indication of achieving what we set out to do if people are coming to us and saying it deserves some award or recognition.”
Architect Robert Chambers from Purcell added: “Thanks to the quality of the original building and the dedication of the Florence Institute Trust and design team, the original fabric has survived fire, vandalism and neglect to become part of a now thriving community building.”
Mann Island architect Matt Brook, said: “Making the shortlist is a tremendous validation of our work in creating a distinctive response to the context of the site and its historical antecedents.”
Other Merseyside building projects to be shortlisted include the Aukett Fitzroy Robinson designed M&S store at Cheshire Oaks, which is their largest store outside London, and Rockmount, in Wirral, a modern private home which sits on top of Caldy Hill overlooking the Dee Estuary in a former quarry. It was designed by Liverpool-based Shed KM.
The 16 shortlisted buildings will be assessed by a jury who will announce the winners of the RIBA North West Award on June 13 . They will then be considered for a RIBA National Award on the same night.