‘It is our role to understand the subtle differences and design a bespoke facility that responds to the Club’s aspiration and values, whilst addressing site context, design quality and budget.
‘There is a balance between the different areas used for training, injury management and sports science with the offices for coaching, analysts and scouting and recreation areas for players spending time between sessions. Considerable effort is devoted into creating a building environment which works for all users.’
KSS conducted a benchmarking review of training ground innovations and best practices in this country, across Europe and in the United States. This included visiting KSS’ designed Training Centres for Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC – which is widely recognised as one of the top facilities in the Premier League. Liverpool and KSS also visited facilities in Europe, including Red Bull Salzburg and Hoffenheim.
‘We also researched the latest trends in the workplace and education sectors, and were able to use our extensive knowledge of the sports hospitality sector,’ Debbie reveals. ‘It was important to draw on other industries to enhance the experience for everyone at the facility, whilst making sure Liverpool were getting the most up-to-date, modern environment.
‘We approached the project from several angles, initially through those best practice visits to other leading sport facilities with the client, to inform the architectural and operational aspects of the design. This naturally helps to tease out design and aesthetic preferences. But it was our understanding of LFC – a long-standing client – that enabled us to essentially refine our environmental brand interpretation of this unique Club into a form that was more privacy and professionally focused, which created a more technically driven, extremely confident, interior architectural language.’
So what makes the AXA facility unique? ‘Everything – from the limitations of the site, which resulted in the dynamic building form that pushes and pulls through the centre of the landscape, to the robust and confident use of materials, the eye-catching details where the building bleeds red, to the embedded graphic applications that tell the Club’s story. Everything about the design was developed specifically for LFC – and it feels that, when you are there, it could be no other club’s place of work.
We might not have been able to have our day out in Kirkby, but we can’t wait to see the fruits of this amazing facility’s labours when we can once again return to Anfield.