The unique architectural design of the Carmelite Monastery in Liverpool has captured the imagination of many architects across Great Britain. Indeed, so much so, that the project was awarded the Architect's Choice Award at the 2013 Brick Development Awards (BDA).

Project details

Project

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Client

Carmelite Order, Liverpool

Architect

Austin-Smith: Lord, Liverpool

Used material

Con Mosso

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool, UK

A sense of community

The elaborate brickwork itself embodies a sense of timelessness, tradition and calmness and is thus in keeping with the monastic way of life. With the monastery being located in a traditional village, the use of a singular material also serves to ensure the building appears as an entity and expresses a sense of community appropriate to the area.

Versatile brick

It was a fundamental requirement for the architects, Austin-Smith Lord, to very carefully adapt the brickwork to the planning. Wienerberger’s Con Mosso brick was chosen for its soft and textured surface, which makes it equally suitable for internal as well as external use. As such, the brick was used internally most notably within the chapel and the cloister. On the façade, the appearance subtly changes according to the time of day and weather conditions; the changing shape of the shadows deliberately exudes a sense of calmness and tranquillity.
Whilst the building is modern in its expression, the monastery also showcases a traditional monastic design approach in its form and layout. Taken as a whole, a striking and yet harmonious transition between internal and external living has been achieved. The paradisiacal garden is a wildlife haven and also includes a kitchen and vegetable garden as well as an orchard. Within the chapel interior, the headers project at a higher level in order to break up sound reflections and maintain the peaceful atmosphere.

Under the sign of sustainability

Beyond the distinctive brickwork, the monastic complex has to be recognised for its minimal energy requirements. By incorporating natural ventilation, improved insulation, maximised daylight and renewable energies - such as ground source heating pumps and solar water heating – the building is able to ensure best possible sustainability.
For centuries past, monasteries have been built of brick and the Carmelite Monastery is no different in this respect. However, the bricks provided by Wienerberger allow the building to express both a traditional and a modern architectural aesthetic through the cumulative effect of its textured brickwork. The result was a project that Wienerberger was extremely proud to have been a part of: a building perfectly executed down to the last detail to provide a home for the Carmelite Sisters in Liverpool long into the future.

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