Mersey Observatory by Phos Architects


Phos Architects of London are among five teams shortlisted to design an observation tower overlooking the city of Liverpool, England.

The Mersey Observatory competition asked for proposals for a tower to be built at Crosby, north of the city.

The other shortlisted architects are Studio 8 Architects, Ellis Williams Architects, Duggan Morris Architects and Farrell and Clark. The winner will be announced at the end of March.

Here's some info from Phos Architects about their proposal:


Phos Architects have recently been shortlisted in an international competition to design an iconic structure in Liverpool.

The Mersey Observatory will offer unrivalled panoramic views of Liverpool Bay, the city’s famous skyline, the busy working docks and international shipping traffic on the River Mersey. The form of our design, in combination with the setting, is intended evoke thoughts of industry, and ship building. We have designed the Mersey Observatory to be tapered and extend upwards to create a coastal beacon, similar to a lighthouse. The form of our proposal through its ‘upright’ nature creates a dialogue with the Anthony Gormley installation ‘Another Place’ on neighbouring Crosby Beach.

The Stage 2 drawings by the five finalists are now on display at 3 venues across Liverpool – Capital of Culture 2008. The winning entry will be announced at the end of March and the building is due for completion in 2011 with an estimated cost of £11.65 million.

Phos Architects was formally established in early 2007. We are a young practice based in London with a hunger and passion to design beautiful buildings that serve communities and respect locality. We strive to create buildings that hold substance and meaning, that make dynamic connections with people and context. Through a network of talented individuals we are able to respond to any design brief in a unique and creative way.

This network allows us to collaborate with filmmakers, graphic designers, photographers and others who have a poetic understanding of the built environment. Our designs are modern, but do not lack historical, political and cultural references. Above all we are guided by the need to strive for elegance in our solution.

Posted on Friday February 15th 2008 at 1:38 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • meeko

    Wow, I love it. It looks very nice.

  • Can I point out Liverpool already has an observation tower, but it was closed to the public yonks ago (its now the studios of Radio City I believe).

    I’d be curious to why it closed, and how this new one is going to succeed where it didn’t.

  • eyeontheworld

    Its rugged, industrial, encapsulates the surrounding area, and as mentioned within the proposal, has architectural references to Liverpool’s shipping heritage. Its acts as a beacon, a place of educational focus both past and present, a landmark enhancing technology and forwarding thinking.
    Honestly though, is this what Liverpool needs? Given the European Cultural status Liverpool now has, will this on completion, in 2011, be looked upon as dated. Yes, as mentioned it encapsulates Liverpool, but isn’t Liverpool trying desperately to move away from that tradition, its past life? This to me is like taking a cultural step backwards in industrialisation, back to factories and manufacturing.
    Take a look at Studio 8; this is the direction we should be moving in. Pure design, suited to the purpose, an observation platform. To be observed, and to observe from. They would have my vote.

  • Though I think the Studio 8 submission is certainly beautiful, I question the lack of any kind of covered or enclosed area (unless I missed it.) In a location that does tend to be rainy, it seems that that would be a requirement.

    (The Farrell and Clark site completely hosed my firefox before the site even loaded, and I’m not sure how I feel about the Duggan Morris offering)

  • mgvaughan
  • Evan

    These renderings really remind me of Herzog & de Meuron’s proposed Opera House for Hamburg. They both have a very similar massing, with the rust-colored (old brick for the opera house), heavy volume on the bottom with the translucent, light and ethereal volume on top. Both are along the water, and usually shown with a lot of fog. They really are quite similar.