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Rick Mather appointed to design Liverpool JMU Academy

March 11 2005

Rick Mather Architects has been appointed to design the new £21 million Design Academy at Liverpool John Moores University, on a site adjacent to the landmark Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Mather’s firm was chosen from a final shortlist of Edward Cullinan Architects, Fielden Clegg Bradley and Michael Hopkins Architects.

Mather said: “The Design Academy is a wonderful project and we are thrilled to be working on this exceptional site. The development of the new Academy will not only benefit the University and its students but it will bring a forgotten, disconnected area of Liverpool back into productive use for the city-wide community.”

Professor Michael Brown, LJMU‚s Vice Chancellor said: “Rick Mather Architects are an exciting and adventurous firm. We are confident that they will design an inspirational building that will help the University advance the teaching of art and design while also reinforcing Liverpool’s status as a capital of culture.”

The site is currently occupied by the St Nicholas Centre, which houses LJMU’s Departments of Architecture, Product and Interior Design. Mather said: “The architectural and city potential of this site is fantastic. We plan to design a modern, memorable building that will be sympathetic to its wider surroundings and also offer a visual compliment to the Cathedral.”

Founded in 1825 as the Liverpool Mechanics School of Arts, LJMU’s School of Art and Design is the oldest art school outside London. The School is currently spread across a number of different buildings which are no longer fit for purpose. The new Design Academy will bring all of LJMU’s art and design programmes together, enabling more creative forms of teaching and research. It will also offer new facilities and services to the region\'s creative industries business sector.

The Academy will be developed using £15 million from LJMU plus a further £5.25 million from the Objective 1 programme (to be confirmed). This Objective 1 funding will support the growth of the creative industries on Merseyside by providing increased access to specialist University expertise, applied research, training and development facilities and information resources.

Building work is expected to begin in 2006 and LJMU intends to complete the new Design Academy by the summer of 2008 when Liverpool becomes European Capital of Culture.

LJMU is also close to naming a shortlist of architects for a major refurbishment of the Victorian John Foster Building, which houses Business and Law facilities. This programme will run parallel to the Design Academy project.

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