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Manchester

 

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Project name: Greenbank Student Housing

Client: Liverpool University

Completed: 2017

Architect: Shepherd Robson

The Greenbank Estate in Mossley Hill, Liverpool, was for over two centuries the family home of the Rathbones, shipping merchants and bankers who made an important contribution to social advancement in Liverpool and the wider UK. In the aftermath of World
War 2, the family moved away from Liverpool, and gifted the estate to the University of Liverpool. The association with the family led to the listing of Greenbank House, situated at the north end of the estate. The grounds, including a lake and extensive tree planting, are typical of the ‘paddock’ landscape of the Sefton Park Conservation Area and are also protected.


Landscape Projects was commissioned by the University of Liverpool to prepare a landscape masterplan for the estate. The historic assessment of the landscape showed that the core of the estate, with its long views south from the House, was largely intact, although its tree stock was in need of comprehensive management.


Landscape Projects devised a landscape masterplan which focussed on the concept of communal courtyards, which open onto the central parkland, and which define a series of thresholds from public through communal to private apartments rooms. Gateways and entrances, external seating and shelters would be oriented to encourage casual interaction between students, and the garden landscapes designed to provide winter interest.


Historic buildings and gardens including an 18th century pool are undergoing restoration. New buildings have been carefully inserted into the peripheral tree belts surrounding the estate, so that the core greenspaces could be retained and enhanced. Social spaces focus on enclosed courtyards, with clear, well-lit pathways leading to extensive parklands.


The Greenbank Student Village project shows how Landscape Projects has combined a careful understanding of the historic and cultural significance of a distinctive landscape with the need to create a physical network of social spaces in a contemporary design
which provides an attractive and popular setting for student life.