Liverpool is currently undergoing a broad revitalization effort, including more than 40 buildings and a brand new city center. This article from Building talks with the man in charge of it all.
"With less than five months to go before the completion of Liverpool's most significant regeneration project ever, the man responsible for its delivery is feeling the pressure. "We aren't doing this because we're masochists, although it feels like it sometimes," says Rod Holmes, retail projects director Grosvenor.
Given the heat he is subjected to, Holmes can be forgiven for sweating a little. As Grosvenor's retail projects director he is overseeing a £1bn project to construct a 17 ha city quarter on and around Paradise Street. This scheme is challenging because of its scale and grandiose ambition, but these are amplified by events beyond the developer's control, such as Liverpool being declared Europe's Capital of Culture for 2008 and the rise in construction costs.
The Paradise Project is crucial to the successful regeneration of Liverpool's city centre, which has lost retail traffic to other regional cities and out-of-town malls. "One way to fight back was to create as much variety, choice and surprise as possible," says Holmes. Rather than keeping things simple and employing one architect to design a straightforward mall, he opted to introduce variety and surprise by constructing 40 buildings, including shops, apartments and offices, and appointing a squad of 22 architectural practices to design them. These include Glenn Howells, CZWG and Austin-Smith:Lord."