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Main contractor Russell WBHO and architect Falconer Chester Hall welcomed the group to the magnificent Grade II* building in Dale Street. Guests included local architects, architectural students, academics and interested parties from throughout the region’s property industry.

Russell WBHO project manager Ian Roberts and senior design manager Stuart Gaylard-Rees together with senior Falconer Chester Hall architect Paul Gardiner hosted the tour, sharing the building’s history and an overview of the work being done to convert the former council offices into a luxury 4* hotel.

They gave guests an in-depth view of the work being done to retain and restore the original features and demonstrated the painstaking work being undertaken to bring together the new build extension with the historic structure.

Visitors were able to view in progress areas such as guest bedrooms, the restaurant and lounge areas, the new extension which will house the pool and spa facilities, as well as the ornate front of house spaces including the Palm Court Bar which will be created in the double-height space below the beautifully restored atrium.

Stuart Gaylard-Rees said: “It was a pleasure to support the Liverpool Architecture Festival and our partners at FCH by hosting this tour. We’re incredibly proud of the Municipal Buildings project and were thrilled by some very complimentary feedback from guests.”

Paul Gardiner from FCH added: “The conversion and restoration of this Grade II* listed building is one of the most important projects in the city, and as such, is of huge interest to our colleagues across the industry. We were proud to showcase the excellent implementation of our design by the Russell WBHO team and demonstrate the work being done to protect and enhance the historic features.”

Guests included representatives from MGMA Architects, 10 Architects, Pozzoni, Brock Carmichael, Kier, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, the Liverpool Architecture Festival/Foundation and the Liverpool Architectural Society.

The month-long Liverpool Architecture Festival is back after a two year break due to Covid. It sees local architects, architecture students and academics enjoy a series of tours, workshops and seminars focused on promoting the importance of architecture in the built environment. This year’s activities focused on three themes – climate, community and inclusivity – which ran throughout a programme designed to showcase the architectural talent currently practising in the region.

Russell WBHO is completing the conversion of the Municipal Buildings for developer Fragrance Hotel Group and operator Accor Hotels, and first guests expected to arrive in early 2023. The 179-bedroom hotel will feature a swimming pool, gym, spa and treatment rooms in a new four-storey rear extension, with the restaurant, bar and lounge housed in the beautifully restored interior spaces of the original building.