Hidden in plain sight.
Merchant Taylors' School is a prestigious boys’ school located in Crosby, Liverpool.
Buttress was appointed to design a new sports centre for the school, creating an attractive and contemporary building that the boys' school, as well as the neighbouring girls’ school, could use, without detracting from the historic context of the site.
Given the sports centre’s sensitive location, we needed to find a design solution that masked the volume and mass of this large new building.
To achieve this, the whole building is broken down visually by creating a number of offset planes to the front in stone and glass, and with a broken roofline to the sports hall. These design tactics all help to mask the building’s size and add interest and drama to its design.
The broken roof line is made up of a series of northlights which bring natural light and ventilation to the main sports hall. This is connected at first floor level to the open viewing gallery and central circulation spine, all of which are part of an environmental approach to bring fresh air and natural light into the sports spaces.
To allow for events and out of hours use, a large refreshments and multi-function room has been created on the first floor with a terrace overlooking the school’s rugby and cricket pitches.
Internally, the new facility contains a sports hall for multi-games use, (including badminton, hockey, cricket, football, tennis, netball, basketball, and trampolining), a separate indoor climbing wall and a fitness gym.
Also provided is a dance and drama studio for teaching dance and performing arts, sports teaching classrooms, changing for indoor and outdoor sports, and other support facilities.
The new building reflects the forward thinking, progressive and exciting education that Merchant Taylors’ Schools aim to provide their students. The building has also generated an income stream for the school, with third-party lettings generating a surplus well in excess of the operating costs.
© Sean Conboy
Matthew is an architect and director at Buttress who has led the successful design and delivery of new build and refurbishment projects across a range of cultural, academic and community-led sectors, both regionally and internationally.
He also coordinates the practice's sustainability activities and has led Buttress' B Corp journey helping the company achieve certification at the end of 2022.
Gwenno is an experienced associate with a great balance of technical ability, project running and client management.
Chris works across various sectors within the practice and brings an exceptional eye for detail and creative solutions to all.