Strawberry Field, Liverpool
“Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields”, sang John Lennon in 1967. Now, 52 years later, people can finally follow his prompt, as the gardens immortalised by The Beatles have been opened to the public, alongside a new visitors’ centre, café and shop.
Working alongside Hoskins Architects, Max Fordham provided mechanical and electrical engineering design for this new training centre run by the Salvation Army on the site made famous by the classic Beatles song. The M&E strategy is 'light touch', in keeping with the elegantly understated architecture.
The centre provides training facilities for up to 40 young adults with learning disabilities, delivered by The Salvation Army in a bespoke setting. It features activity spaces, catering facilities, a community café and offices. In addition, a visitor centre, an exhibition space and a gift shop were built onsite to cater for tourists who come to see the famous red gates.
The building is naturally ventilated, featuring apertures in the façade and the roof of the café area, which automatically open when the internal temperature reaches or exceeds 21°C. On the ground floor, cross ventilation is provided within activity spaces via switch-controlled openings in the external wall. The complex is economical to operate using several energy-saving techniques. Electricity demand is reduced with the inclusion of photovoltaic panels on the roof. This potentially also allows energy to be sold back to the grid. Underfloor heating is used in most areas, which demands a lower temperature than traditional radiators and consequently reduces gas demand. Spaces requiring mechanical ventilation, such as the toilets and exhibition space, make use of a specially installed heat recovery system.
Good daylighting is provided throughout the building, with roof lights in the café area helping to mitigate the need for artificial lighting during daytime. Low level lighting around the paths in the gardens are set to an astronomical time clock so that they are turned off during daylight hours.