The Pier Head Masterplan

The Pier Head is fundamental to Liverpool’s sense of identity as the wider city undergoes an exciting period of renewal and regeneration.

To reflect its globally important status as a World Heritage Site and as part of Liverpool’s 2008 European Capital of Culture celebrations, the famous Pier Head was transformed into a vibrant and memorable contemporary public space. With the ‘Three Graces’ historic waterside buildings as its backdrop, the 16,000m2 public realm facing the River Mersey became an exciting space incorporating vibrant sunken water basins as part of a new canal link and revitalised open-air performance area.

Working for regeneration agency Liverpool Vision, AECOM prepared a regeneration masterplan which included extensive public realm for the site, inspired by the docks’ history, plus a landmark new Museum of Liverpool Life and a mixed-use development of homes, shops and offices to the south, along with a remodelled ferry terminal.

One of the most important features of the masterplanning process was ongoing consultation with stakeholders and the public. In partnership with key stakeholders, our study has generated a masterplan that is sensitive to both the location of the site and to the expectations of the city.

Kings Waterfront

In addition to Pier Head, another key feature of Liverpool’s 2008 European Capital of Culture celebrations, was the transformation of a 15-hectare swathe of derelict former docks into a prime waterside district that features the 10,000-seat Echo Arena and a new conference and exhibition centre.

AECOM prepared a masterplan that reflects the grandeur, history, location and large scale of this neglected but important site. Close to the city centre and south of Pier Head and Albert Dock (the core of a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Kings Waterfront is a high-quality, mixed-use scheme. Along with the Echo Arena and the BT Convention Centre (both designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects), the site includes hotels, residential and retail units.

The scheme forms the largest recent development along the city’s worldfamous Mersey riverfront, which attracts millions of visitors every year. Our masterplan established a framework of buildings and new public spaces, including a landmark waterside promenade, for which we provided design and landscape architecture. The 500-metre long, contemporary-style walkway incorporates eye-catching two-tone paving in an irregular stripy pattern, as well as sculptural seating. Taking inspiration from the mooring bollards found on the docks, the seating design has a secondary purpose: ensuring that vehicles are kept away from the water’s edge.

The new promenade has been key to the revitalisation of the area, making it an inviting place for people to visit and enjoy magnificent views. It provides a physical link with the city to the north and has an important role to play in providing a strong and instantly recognisable identity for the Kings Waterfront scheme.

Liverpool Waterfront  was voted overall winner of the RTPI’s competition to find England’s Great Places.