|Date||1 November 2013|
|Location||Pier Head, Liverpool||SJ 33919 90137; 53.40388°N, 2.99541°W|
The Museum of Liverpool, situated on Mann Island between Pier Head and Albert Dock, opened in July 2011 and cost £72m. Its prestigious waterfront location is within the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building itself is 110m long and 60m wide and is of a steel-frame and concrete construction with Jura limestone cladding.
National Museums Liverpool created the new museum to replace the former Museum of Liverpool Life, which closed in 2006, and its aim is to tell the story of the city and its people. The project, however, has been fraught with difficulties.
Liverpool’s iconic waterfront edifices The Three Graces — The Port of Liverpool Building, The Cunard Building and the Royal Liver Building — were completed between 1907 and 1917 and are located at the Pier Head on the River Mersey. The idea of a ‘Fourth Grace’ to house the Museum of Liverpool and intended to feature as the focal point for the 2008 European Capital of Culture festivities was mooted in 2002. The idea was later abandoned though, with Will Alsop’s winning design ‘The Cloud’ being cancelled in 2004 in the face of escalating costs.
In 2005 architects 3XN won the contract to design the new museum. This Danish practice then sub-contracted Manchester-based architects AEW to advise on regulatory matters. 3XN’s contract was, however, terminated in 2007 and AEW subsequently took over the principal role. Since the opening of the museum, National Museums Liverpool have been in dispute with AEW over defects with the building. As of August 2013, AEW had been ordered to pay over £2.3m in damages as a result of serious problems with external steps, terraces and seats and internal ceilings. Part of a ceiling had collapsed not long before the museum opened, and the outside areas of the building are still not accessible to the public.