Skyways House, Liverpool

A regional and national winner in the recent BCO Awards, Skyways House near Liverpool, is a converted World War II aircraft hangar. It is now the centrepiece of a campus of buildings which forms the striking head office complex for Littlewoods Shop Direct Group.

Key features

Sector

Commercial

Client

Littlewoods Retail Group

Architect

CDA

Main contractor

Shepherd Construction

Sub-contractor

Sound Ceilings Ltd

Completion year

2006

System type

SAS205, SAS150

Area M2

18,500m2

Region

United Kingdom

Product Groups

Three levels surrounding a central atrium have been inserted into the Grade II* listed building. Architects CDA (Comprehensive Design Architects) rose to the challenge the structure provided, and employed some clever metal ceiling solutions from SAS International.

SAS International’s SAS205 was specified for the main office space and underside of the galleried walkways. Allowing access to services, SAS205 is normally specified for use in corridors; it proved the ideal solution with panels manufactured to fit between the exposed structural steelwork. Manufactured in lengths up to 3000mm, SAS205 can be installed quickly and efficiently, a serious consideration for the project team.

Providing excellent acoustic performance, a key issue in the open hangar, SAS205 and SAS150 (used in other areas of the project) met the specification requirements. The decorative perforation patterns on the tiles assist acoustic absorption in conjunction with acoustic pads.

In addition, SAS International worked with Siteco on four custom-designed high level lighting rafts. Suspended from the curved roofs, the rafts run the full length of the hanger providing lighting to the second floor.

The BCO judges particularly like the way a ‘controlled palate’ of steel, glass and timber has been used to bind unpretentious industrial utility to modern new office floors, creating a 21st century working environment. No apology is made for the building’s origins. In fact, the exposed roof structure, ties and beams celebrate that history.

Close collaboration between architects and engineers has created a building within a building. Light floods through the huge space across three floors, a daunting challenge in itself when the roof was sacrosanct; achieved by glazing both ends of the building, the original roof lights and windows have been upgraded for solar control. Construction was successfully completed to a tight timescale and budget and the result is a remarkably distinctive highly efficient building according to the BCO. Littlewoods Shop Direct Group is certainly satisfied, saying the new HQ has ‘radically improved’ its business.

Systems used