the Bluecoat / Hans van der Heijden Architect

the Bluecoat / Hans van der Heijden Architect

  • © Stefan Müller - the Bluecoat / Hans van der Heijden Architect
  • © Stefan Müller - the Bluecoat / Hans van der Heijden Architect

The design

Hans van der Heijden made a design for the extension and restoration of Bluecoat Chambers, the oldest building of Liverpool. It houses a number of art galleries, a theatre, a restaurant, shops and several workshops and practice spaces for artists. The new wing continues the brick architecture of the monument whilst restoring the original court typology of the building. The articulation of the entire ensemble in one single facade material ensures a maximum presence of the arts centre within the regenerated shopping district of Liverpool’s city centre.


English Heritage named the Bluecoat one of England’s 20 best Heritage-Led Developments: ‘Demolition, expansion and conservation have all been successfully completed. The historic dome, the Queen Anne facade and a rambling series of 18th century rooms have been conserved to the highest standards, along with what may be the oldest stone representation of a Liver Bird in the city. The venue has gained a 200-seat performance space, shops and eating places, four galleries, and 26 studios for artists and workers in the creative industries. A progressive institution of the 18th century has been successfully transformed into an equally forward-looking one for the 21st.’



The project received the RIBA Award, the Brick Award, the LAS Design Award and was specially mentioned at the World Architecture Festival 2008. The Bluecoat was announced Building of the Year 2008 by the Liverpool Architectural Society, nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award and was broadly published including the Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture.


Extra info

the Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK

Hans van der Heijden Architect, Amsterdam, NL

Design team:
Hans van der Heijden, Theo van de Beek, Marjolein van Eig, Helen Webster, Rick Wessels [biq], Donald Insall Associates [heritage consultant], Austin Smith Lord [executive architect, landscape architect]