Hamilton Architects won this commission, centred on Liverpool’s Three Graces, in an international design competition and the project was completed in time for the city becoming European City of Culture in 2008.
Pier Head was the focal point of the river when Liverpool was the second city of the British Empire. Its origins date back to the 18th century, when the city played a major role in the transatlantic slave trade. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was the point of departure for millions of migrants to America and elsewhere.
The striking Pier Head skyline is dominated by a formal arrangement of early 20th-century monumental buildings – the Three Graces – encompassing The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and The Port of Liverpool Building. The ultra-modern design of the terminal, which is clad in Portland Stone, offers a striking contrast to the iconic buildings lining the dockside.
The terminal accommodates the ferry operations for the famous Mersey Ferry on the ground floor. The 1st floor contains a maritime themed museum and the 2nd floor a rooftop restaurant with an extensive roof terrace and panoramic views over the river.
Hamilton Architects are no strangers to the transport sector, having delivered the Labour Harbour Ferry Terminal in 1984. The scheme included ticket sales facilities, assembly area, and high level covered access to the Sealink ferries. A station was incorporated within the scheme to provide a link with the rail network.
In Belfast, the arrival of the Seacat service in 1992 gave the practice the opportunity to adapt and upgrade the existing Liverpool ferry building to provide a modern passenger terminal.
In 2022, the refurbishment and extension of Victoria Terminal 2 for Belfast Harbour Commissioners will accommodate anticipated growth in Stena Line passenger traffic when it goes into operation in late summer.
A new exit and one-way traffic system, a bigger drop-off/pick-up point, an extra car check-in lane, and an increased standage area will facilitate better traffic flow.
Two extensions to the existing terminal building will accommodate a new entrance foyer to the south, and a new covered car check-in, security area and baggage reclaim to the north.
The passenger lounge will be refurbished to provide a self-service check-in and reception desk, and a departures area with toilet and cafe facilities.