Perforated panels and rainscreen cladding on Paddington Central multi-storey complete a design inspired by underground tunnels.
We’d never heard of the Williamson Tunnels in Liverpool. Now they’re truly ‘etched’ on our minds, thanks to an innovative architectural façade design. More than 2,000 perforated panels clad the car park with a design that represents the network of 200-year-old tunnels beneath Liverpool’s streets and rainscreen cladding on the stair core protect against the elements.
It was the brainchild of Liverpool architects KKA - brought to life in the design studios and prototype areas of Maple’s Stockport factory. “Our concept for the multi-storey car park was intricate and complex, and not necessarily a simple one to realise,” said KKA director Kasia Borkowska.
“However, Maple have done a wonderful job of bringing our vision to life and helping to create a facility that proudly reflects the area’s rich history.”
Each panel design is different, with a unique location on the façade to complete the abstract image. Installation was completed to fine margins and with close attention to detail – all within a challenging, tight and busy city-centre site.
As well as creating a link with the past, the perforated panels and rainscreen cladding will protect the car park interior from the elements, while providing natural light and ventilation.
“The façade looks great,” said Morgan Sindall Construction’s Senior Quantity Surveyor, Graham Golding, who singled out Maple for praise during what was a challenging build.
“We had the Covid pandemic, weather issues, little bespoke changes and a myriad of other problems but Maple fitted in. Accommodating is the word I would use – they were one of the best (contractors) on site.”
The Williamson Tunnels are a series of excavations created under the direction of eccentric entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph Williamson in the 19th century.
No one really knows why they were built... unlike the new 1,245-space car park, which will serve the regeneration of the Paddington Central quarter into a city-centre hub for life science, medical and knowledge industries.