Vine Court The University of Liverpool - Forterra Building Products

The University of Liverpool has opened the doors of its £34.5 million student residential complex, Vine Court, a striking brick structure located at the heart of its city centre campus.

The building, designed by Stride Treglown, uses a palette of materials – brick, zinc and glass. The materials used – specifically the brick – was a result of the university’s desire for the building to be long lasting with minimal external maintenance requirements to fit within the sustainable ethos of the institution.

The colour and finish of the brickwork was carefully chosen to fit into the local historical context while also being uncompromisingly modern in design and construction.

The façade uses two Forterra red bricks – Dark Multi Smooth and County Multi Rustic – in horizontal bands to visually reduce the scale of the elevations. The variation in surface textures repeats across different elevations to add interest and form a cohesive whole.

The building itself incorporates more than 800,000 quality facing bricks. These include around 39,000 intricate special shapes, used to add particular interest to elevations, of which over 4,000 were radials, used to create the curved elements of the design. The use of thin vertical piers and changing panel recesses from 25mm to 115mm also helps the building fit comfortably within the local environment.

The brickwork is complemented by the use of a graphite coloured mortar which reflects that used in the local area and helps the building blend with its surroundings.

Vine Court is at the forefront of sustainable residential development in the UK higher education sector and has been built to a high standard of sustainable design and energy performance. In addition to the many eco technologies incorporated into the structure, the brickwork includes built-in nest boxes for swifts and bats, helping the scheme to be awarded a design stage BREEAM Excellent certification – an important statement of the university’s commitment to a sustainable built environment on campus.

The investment by the university in this world-class complex, which features 749 en-suite bedrooms as well as a 250-seat restaurant and café-bar which are both open to students, staff and the public, ensures that the quality of its accommodation matches the excellence of its teaching provision.