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Contents P1 ...... Title Page P2 ...... Contents P3 ...... Contents P4 ...... Design Introduction P5 ...... Religious epicentre P6 ...... Concept P7 ...... Site section P8 ...... Social P9 ...... Economical P10 .... Economical P11 .... Planning P12 .... Planning (Masterplan) P13 .... Planning P14 .... Planning P15 .... Sustainability P16 .... Sustainability P17 .... Sustainability P18 .... Access P19 .... Access and Epilogue P20 .... References

Design Portal, the life after death centre is designed to create a gateway between realms. It uses Client donated information to generate an artificial intelligent life form (avatar). The avatars can be created to emulate the client or if the client has ‘right of publicity’ of another person they can create an avatar of that person. ‘Right of publicity’ is to control the commercial use of one’s name, image, likeness or other unequivocal aspects of one's identity. The ownership, control and transfer of information will replicate the Inheritance System. Clients will fall into one of two groups: 

A person knowing they will die soon may wish to create a lasting legacy via an avatar memorial. Genealogy is a growth industry and when most are forgotten in two generations, the avatar provides a perpetual interactive testament for ones ancestors.

A client who has ‘right of publicity’ of another person may wish to create an avatar memorial to celebrate a life of someone dear to them. The interactive avatar offers a sense of continued life after passing and comfort when dealing with loss.

The project has the potential to turn the site into an epicentre for religious and social community as leading health professionals such as Marie Curi use ‘Memory box’ techniques to provide comfort and solace to patients.

Religion is the area The size of sphere represents the number of participants




Greek orthodox



This benefit coupled with developing the areas circulation, public space etc. Portal will maximise potential through development and evolution of the following elements. 







Concept The sites most important feature is the dominating height of the Cathedral that represents man’s aspiration to reach heaven. This results in the surrounding buildings being submissive to the Cathedral as religion dominates this site. The Cathedral and graveyard suggested a symbolic theme of life and death (irrespective of denomination) and the project’s function would concentrate on celebration life by linking the transition of life and death. There is an interesting juxtaposition of Portal versus Cathedral. A fluid, organic building nestled under the wing of an imposing rectilinear gothic structure. Though submissive in scale to the Cathedral, it was important for the Portal not to be in its physical shadow and hence is situated to the south where it can capture the greatest solar energy within a multi level topography. These levels are a consequence of previous quarrying, resulting in a nine meter deep excavation complete with 45° - 60° grassed slopes which the Portal would sympathetically envelope. The Portal will complement and enhance this area of natural (and built) beauty and provoke architectural conversation, interest and opinion for all.

Site section

Social Through discussions about the Portal’s position in Liverpool, ethical and contextual debates are bound to arise; however, before any planning permission is granted, the onsite religious clergy would have to give permission. In order to ease some of the ethical concerns, bishops, priests etc. will educate, inform and promote the projects positives. They range from opening community free spaces to stimulating the local economy.

Economy The surrounding area would receive a multitude of benefits e.g. clients and staff will provide an finical boost to the local economy, increasing trade in the local residential area and during the Portal’s lifetime, local residents and businesses would receive preferential treatment to encourage inclusivity and participation. Local employment, trade & training opportunities will arise during the construction phase and throughout the operational lifetime of the project. This will stimulate the local economy where local tradesmen and materials will be preferred. The Cathedral is currently a ‘Top 10’ tourism attraction on the ‘Liverpool Tourism City Bus’ hop on - hop off service route. The adjacent Portal’s upper three floors are designed to entice the public in from the side of site with the other tourism attraction by continuing the life/ death theme and thus compounding the tourism trade for both Cathedral and Portal in a symbiotic manner. Reference 1

Joining the Cathedral tourism site immediately creates a greater sphere of influence. Together they will increase the profile of the area by promoting a positive economic growth and encouraging further investment that could lead to an increase in land value. The construction will begin with the existing 60m – 90m forest area providing a visual and acoustic barrier during the six – eight month construction period.

Planning The project will unlock and further develop a currently private 4000m2 of green space as the main element of the transitional public master plan, subsequently increasing land values, and encouraging other growth opportunities in the area. The building and its landscaping are designed to impress and create a striking landmark without imposing on the natural or urban landscape. Voronoi (a parametric design program) diagramming from the building facade system will bleed into the landscape providing transference of inside to outside space. Landscaping is designed to open up public areas and invite the community to enjoy green space whilst the surrounding forest is used to camouflage the building and lead people through a transitional zone and into another realm.

Master plan Bleeding Voronoi landscaping

Car park > Forest (buffer) > Building = Entrance > Transition area (buffer) > Function pods The organic design sympathises with organic neo-classical gothic surroundings and natural environment whilst absorbing existing land contours using hidden masses set into a three storey excavation. The scale of the structure is respectful of St James Mount, using approximately 12 % of the space for building and without comprising the Grade II* listed St James house. The design focuses on: 

Solar orientation and sustainable energy

Natural site topography

Urban grain and surrounding massing

Privacy and microclimate

Solar diagramming ever 2 hours during the spring equinox

Due the site residing on consecrated land, any plans would require the Bishops permission (Town and Country Act 1947). Whilst there may be no legal duty, in order to practice due diligence, approval/acceptance of plans by the local religious hierarchy & diocese officials would be sought. There will be minimal disruption to the graveyard and exhumations and reinterments must be carried out both legally and with sensitivity.


In order to disinter graves from consecrated land, alterations are to be defined on notices in local papers (at least twice) and notices on site, Open Spaces Act (1906). Furthermore, no symbols, inscriptions or ornamentation of inappropriate religious nature may be used (Interpretation Act 1889). The unique function won’t detract from any other local businesses; however public consultations are still required. Portal is more likely to receive approval from planning authorities if it can be environmentally friendly and prove it wouldn’t increases strain on the local amenities but aid them.

Sustainability Portal will be an energy negative building. A system that generates more energy than it needs and can therefore be energy self sufficient whilst provided some energy for its surroundings. A symbiotic combination of the two energy generating systems and energy conservation techniques will achieve this. 

A micro hydro plant will generate the majority of the Portals energy by dropping 31m3 of water down the natural occurring drop of 9m. The water drops and forces turbines to move which are connected to an electrical generator provides electricity. The system will have paid its capital cost back over 14 years and will provide ample electrical quantities for Portal.


Translucent Photovoltaic cells are located over the organic shaped structure at optimum orientation and trajectory for annual solar gain and during off peak electrical grid times is used to facilitate the movement of the water from the hydro plant system to the upper tanks.

The buildings internal program is based upon a 7m-14m passive light and ventilation distance. The ability to predominantly service the maximum percentage of Portal passively is a main design focus. Mechanical ventilation and lighting will be needed but only as a backup source.

The organic sloping shape of the structure prevents any wind buffering and wind tunnels and all concrete structural members consist of 50% concrete and 50% Fly ash shotcrete (recycled high thermal performance material), and is produced less than 7 miles away at a leading concrete production company ‘Spotmix’.



The shotcrete external nodal system can be easily dismantled and reassembled in a different size or format to become flexible based upon demand. This allows Portals system to grow and shrink to eliminate excess waste.


Combining with the flexible form of the building the interior in generally uninterrupted by permanent structural members with less than 10% of the building being compartmentalised. This provides versatility, should the economy dictate a change of function in the future and increase portal lifespan. Environmental damage will be minimised by conserving material distribution,

replacing backfilled earth and re-planting displaced vegetation by incorporating it into the master plan. This allows for minimal impact on the local environment flora and fauna. Enabling and developing the sites current vehicle, pedestrian and service access is another great way to minimise environment damage and strive towards more sustainable design.

Access Communications to and from site: A bus stop is to be added to the current Liverpool C1 bus route to provide greater access to and from city centre. The bus route already passes the Anglican Cathedral so there is minimal impact of the bus that passes 6 times daily. Liverpool Lime Street train station and Victoria Bus Station are both 1 mile away. Provision has been made for coach drop off point. Delivery and emergency service access is via an existing service road that facilitates the Cathedral. All emergency services are within a 1.5 mile radius of the site, with ample and uninterrupted service road access; Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, A & E at Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Merseyside Police headquarters. The large quantity of car parking surrounding the site is fully utilised, so the site will provide sufficient spaces with regard to staff and customer parking. The highway agency standards will be met through a series of master plan essentials. 1. Disabled parking spaces are in close proximity to Portal’s entrance. 2. Road distances between adjacent roads to alleviate any increase in congestion. 3. Town Planners are to be satisfied with all aspects of road layout and appropriate vehicle logistics 4. A one way herring bow drop off and extraction point located closest to the entrance. 5. A calculating quantity of both public and staff parking for a suitable range of vehicles; cars, motorbikes, coaches, buses, bicycles etc.

Communications within the site: The master plan encourages pedestrian circulation with improved East-West circulation across the site via stairs to the north and south of the building and various routes through the building. The stairs and paths offer controlled vertical movement up and down the 9 metre grassed slope around the Portal whilst combined with the combined effort of the disabled access ramps allow vertical circulation across the site and together with lifts increased circulation throughout the building for all age’s and disabilities.

Epilogue The building and its surrounding landscaping will provide a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere. For people who require a sensitive approach at this special time, they will find a safe, secure and controlled environment which will allow them the time and setting to gather their thoughts, memories and experiences to create a dignified epitaph. Regardless of disability (e.g. hearing impaired, partially sighted etc) everyone will receive a holistic sensory experience. This bespoke facility pioneers cutting edge technology and delivers the finest quality service to the highest standards. This iconic landmark will be a great addition to the continuation of Liverpool’s new generation of architecture and augment the United Kingdom’s most cultural city.

References City seeing. (2012) Tour bus, [Internet]. Available from: <> [Accessed on the 29th March 2012]. Energy efficiency and sustainable power. (2012) Hydro power calculations, [Internet]. Available from: < > [Accessed on the 2nd April 2012]. Spirit solar. (2012) Solar calculations, [Internet]. Available from: <> [Accessed on the 2nd April 2012]. Spotmix. (2012) Shotcrete, [Internet]. Available from: < > [Accessed on the 10th March 2012]. Town planning. (2012) Legislation, [Internet]. Available from: <> [Accessed on the 17th March 2012].

Design and Access statement  
Design and Access statement  

A document required for planning permission