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Jasper Sanders + Partners brings an iconic build-to-rent destination to life

Liverpool’s The Keel offers a balance of urban community and waterside serenity following an extensive refurbishment by Jasper Sanders + Partners.


3 min read

Sitting within the old HMRC building at Queen’s Dock on Liverpool’s iconic waterfront, the 15storey building sits a stone’s throw from Liverpool’s vibrant and creative Baltic Triangle and city centre. Appointed by Allsop Letting and Management, Jasper Sanders + Partners has re-established the 240 apartment rental destination and reduced the building’s carbon footprint, opening the amenity spaces up to offer a place to work and relax – helping to create a new social and cultural hub for the building.

“A fit out of the space had been undertaken by an interior design firm some three years previous,” notes Director Jasper Sanders. “It focused upon making a ‘waiting area,’ with little function and focus upon what people actually need, or about developing a culture in the building.

“The concept was always about two things: creating a positive and activated space for people in order they can prosper, and attracting and retaining residents to create prosperity and commercial success for the building owner. What is good for people is great for business,” he adds.

The Manchester-based studio methodically replanned the layout of the arrival point at The Keel; optimising amenity space by relocating an existing bin store to an external location and replacing this setting with a state-of-the-art coworking lounge.  This enabled the client to operate this as a business lounge during the day and events space in the evening. A variety of zones are featured, including booth seating and meeting rooms – increasing the sense of community and allowing residents to take advantage of an array of regular social activities centred around well-being and fitness.

“We always start with space,” says Sanders. “We optimised the space available by locating a new work-from-home Zoom Room in the oversized draft lobby and created a new flexible lounge. The post and parcels were relocated to the dockside to the rear, and a new coffee lounge was introduced at the front – expanding the old reception hatch to form a new open accessible reception to deliver an excellent service. If you don’t get the space right, you have no hope of creating good design!”

The studio was careful to retain as much of the existing fabric of the interiors in order to limit the number of new materials reduce the impact on the planet. “The building had an identity for us to follow determined by a brand consultant – and so we tuned into this to suit the building in order to create an architectural experience inside and out,” explains Sanders. “There is a flamboyance in our old port cities, and this is evident in Liverpool. The people love some glitz and glamour – we used metallic surfaces and in the Zoom Room coated the glass in semi-translucent reflective copper film making the pace feel sunny and tanned. Colour and materials lifts the scheme and gives it style.”

Matt Smith, Director of Asset Management at Allsop, commented on the project. “Thanks to its waterfront views, city-centre location, high-quality facilities and iconic architecture, The Keel has been a sought-after place to live since its very launch. Acknowledging the shift in people’s lifestyle following the pandemic, this refurbishment will help us maintain and amplify its appeal, ensuring it remains inviting and relevant for many years to come.”

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