Whitefox Project: Liverpool Crowne Plaza

The Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel is a vibrant four star Grade II Listed hotel situated on the site of the original Speke Aerodrome once functioning as Liverpool’s main airport.   The building still incorporates a former airport terminal and control tower at the rear.  Whitefox in conjunction with Avus (our partner M&E engineers) were employed to undertake a comprehensive energy audit of the building.

Rebuilding from the rubble

In February 2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the second largest town in New Zealand, causing utter destruction in its wake and was named the country’s ‘darkest day’.

4 years later and its impact on the people of Christchurch is still abundantly clear but despite this terrible event, the citizens were determined to re-build their once beautiful city into something even more magnificent.

One of the most treasured and historic structures in NZ that was unfortunately affected was the transitional Cathedral. It suffered terrible damage and any restoration seemed impossible with what was left behind. But, after some consideration, an extraordinary plan was drawn up that entailed, if you can believe it, a re-build using cardboard foundations.

This wasn’t the first innovate plan the people of Christchurch had in store. After the wake of the earthquake, the general consensus was to prevent the damage reoccurring. To prepare for such an event, a large office block, the collapse of which caused most of the fatalities, gained “19 very large ball bearings, so that in case of an earthquake it can move half a metre in any direction depending on the severity of the earthquake and then just gradually settle back into its right place.” This new addition will undoubtedly save lives in the event of another earthquake, regardless of its recorded magnitude.

Almost three-quarters of damaged roads, water pipes and sewage systems have been repaired but reconstruction work will almost certainly take more than a decade to complete. Despite this setback, the chief executive of the Canterbury Development Corporation, sees a light at the end of the tunnel with high expectations for the finished project, “It is all about that new Christchurch and how we make it exciting, and vibrant and attractive, and just the coolest little city in the world.”

After all, “In a time of destruction, create something.”

To find out more, click here.

Architecture is reaching new heights – quite literally!

A recent winner of a competition, inspiring a new addition to the Himalayan trails, has designed a ‘Penthouse: house on top of the world’ which could save countless lives upon construction. This new architectural idea is the product of genius engineering after the appalling earthquake of Nepal which, along with civilian casualties, cost 10 mountain climbers their lives. Due to Everest’s position on the Himalayan fault line, a re-occurrence is almost guaranteed, so this new structure is designed to keep hikers safe, for up to 7 days, while they rest and recuperate before embarking on their perilous journey up the world’s tallest mountain.

The winning design features prefabricated areas —from the window to toilet modules—that can be joined together to create a continuous space. This also allows each area to have separate stability in the wake of any tremors and separate transportation by helicopter. The modules were produced using PVC and are insulated with timber and thick hard foam walls to maintain a warm and comfortable living environment inside, keeping away the harsh conditions of Nepal.

The runners up for the competition also produced some really intriguing designs. Second place was claimed by the ‘Shelter Bag’, designed to be a ‘hybrid between the mountaineering sleeping bag and the tent’. It’s also avalanche resistant and surrounded by an insulated shell protecting the light carbon beams which make up it main structural frame. An additional layer decorated with a Himalayan flag design covers the exterior of the cocoon-like shelter which helps retain heat and continuous ventilation. An ellipse-shaped building took third place, which consisted of a solar panel-topped central service unit and a gabion wall that wrapped around the entire perimeter. The solar-powered building, like its fellow competitors, also featured rainwater collection and a storage area but also held new items such as lightweight ETFE pillows and a fully functioning greenhouse. Like the winner, it can also be assembled and transported by helicopter.

To find out more about these new mountaineering homes, click here.