Mersey Observatory looks for design



The development of the Mersey Observatory is set to yield design opportunities across exhibition, branding, graphics, multimedia and interior design.


Walter Menzies, chief executive of the Mersey Basin Campaign, the client behind the project, says that although the £12m attraction is still at the very early stages, external design expertise will be sought as the development progresses.


‘We will be looking to put together an interpretation, narrative and story for the exhibition, as well as interiors, communications material and branding, but when [this happens] depends on financing. It’s at the very early stages and there is still a huge amount to do,’ says Menzies.


Backed by the local authority in conjunction with the North West Regional Development Agency, design projects will be put out to public tender over the next two to three years.


At the first stage of the development, architect Duggan Morris last month won a competition, organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects, to create a proposal for the visitor attraction.


Its plans include the construction of two separate buildings, one housing the observatory overlooking the Mersey’s waterfront region – a designated wildlife conservation area – and the other, housing a visitor centre, exhibition space and café.


The development will replace the old radar tower at the mouth of the river, near Crosby Beach.


Duggan Morris beat four other design proposals in the international competition, which attracted more thabn 90 entries from around the globe.


The Mersey Observatory is just one of a number of visitor attractions planned for the region, and is part of Liverpool Council’s tourism and destination strategy for Mersey Waterfront.


The Mersey Observatory is expected to open in 2012, and will be one of three complementary attractions at Crosby Beach.


Artist Antony Gormley will create a public installation, while a major water sports venue is planned for Sefton Water Centre.


The entries for the architecture design competition will be on show at the Cube Gallery in Manchester until 26 April.

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