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Sefton Council commissions artist Paul Curtis for Toad Hall transformation

AWARD winning street artist Paul Curtis starts work on his largest ever mural this week, to brighten up Ainsdale's Toad Hall. Sefton Council has commissioned Paul, who last year created a huge image of Red Rum in Southport, to carry out the work as part of its plans to invest in and develop the Ainsdale on Sea coastal area. Paul, who burst onto the street art scene around 3 years ago, is due to start on the 780m2 mural, the equivalent size of about four tennis courts, this week. The 'coastally appropriate' design is being kept under wraps for now and is expected to be completed in three to four weeks, weather permitting.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:- "This is the 3rd art installation that we have commissioned from Paul here in Sefton. We cannot wait to have this exciting coast-inspired piece added to the list of local street art where people can enjoy his incredible talent. The design will be revealed as each drop of paint finds its place on the Toad Hall canvas and will celebrate our unique and environmentally-important coast. This latest addition to Sefton's public art collection will provide a brilliant welcome to each and every person who visits Ainsdale beach. It really is kickstarting our commitment to improving the look and feel of the destination so that our communities and visitors can enjoy this protected landscape for generations to come."

Artist Paul Curtis said:- "I am excited to be involved in this large scale project; my largest piece to date and I think the biggest mural in Britain outside of London! I'm itching to get started. This will be my 1st in Ainsdale and I hope the building's unique face lift will have a positive impact. The mural itself is a secret at the moment, but it will have an obvious link to the area and people will start to work it out as it progresses. It will definitely be a challenge. The scale is 1 thing, but the building is also full of angles, contours, corners and recesses. This is not a straight forward flat canvas, but I'm looking forward to rising to these challenges. Let's hope the weather is on my side!"

The art installation is being funded through the Council's already agreed ₤350,000 of investments to improve facilities around the entrance to Ainsdale Beach. People are also reminded that they have until the end of September to submit their views on the wider, long term development of the Ainsdale on Sea area and can take part online at:- YourSeftonYourSay.Sefton.Gov.UK.

The idea for an art installation on the Toad Hall building has been developed by the Green Sefton team. They have consulted with members of the community and community groups as well as ward Councillors on the design for the mural. Everyone has positively contributed to the creative process and are excited to see Paul's work come to fruition. The Council's Estates department, who manage the building, has carried out the necessary safety checks ahead of the work and re-boarded the doors and windows ready for the fresh paintwork. The Hall itself was originally constructed in the 1920's and was set to be the start of a Promenade, but it never fully materialised. Many local people may remember the building as a popular nightclub, but since it closed the building has remained empty.

Further detail about the wider development of the Ainsdale on Sea area and current public consultation is available now, online.

Metro Mayor and Stirling Prize winning Design Champion support inaugural Liverpool Architecture Festival

METRO Mayor Steve Rotheram and Stirling Prize winning Architect Paul Monaghan; the Liverpool City Region's Design Champion; have joined forces to support the Liverpool City Region's 1st ever festival showcasing architectural heritage and working to improve the buildings and public spaces of the future.

The inaugural Liverpool Architecture Festival; also supported by the Liverpool Architecture Society, RIBA and Liverpool Young Architects; will bring together the extensive architectural community to highlight outstanding work, share ideas and ultimately raise design and building quality standards.

The event will celebrate the Region's history and kick start debates around contemporary issues, such as the revitalisation of high streets and the future of family homes.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "This is a great opportunity to celebrate our world renowned architectural heritage, but also, more importantly, to focus on what comes next. The buildings where we live, work and socialise every day are vitally important to our lives and I want to improve the quality and attractiveness of our neighbourhoods. In 2018, I appointed Paul Monaghan, a local lad who has become one of the country's leading architects, as our 1st Design Champion. This festival will help stimulate the debate around what 'good' design is and how we can best use our public spaces. We can't build back better unless we also start to build better too."

The Liverpool Architecture Festival will be launched on 4 October 2021 by newly elected President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Simon Allford, whose practice, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, was behind the recently opened Bereavement Centre at Alder Hey Hospital. It brings together, for the 1st time, practitioners and Local Authorities as part of long term plans to develop a unified and cohesive Regional voice around the built environment.

Paul Monaghan, Liverpool City Region Design Champion, said:- "3 years ago, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram appointed me as the Liverpool City Region Design Champion because he recognised that the bar for design needed to be raised for new developments. I was brought up in Liverpool and have been lucky enough to design several buildings there including the Alder Centre for the children's hospital and the refurbishment of the Royal Court Theatre. My experiences are that the city welcomes good design. Liverpool also has a thriving young architectural scene which I have been keen to promote. They need more opportunities but make the most of their commissions. I'm proud to be associated with this, the first Liverpool Architecture Festival, which I believe will become an important annual fixture complimenting the successful Art Biennale. I can't wait to come home and get involved in the Festival myself."

A comprehensive 2 week programme will present a series of:- lectures, workshops, walking and building tours, open studios, design competitions and a symposium on the potential listed buildings of the future.

Walking tours will highlight the work of celebrated architects, such as Herbert Rowse, famous for designing prominent buildings including Hope Street's Philharmonic Hall as well as the India Buildings and Martins Bank, on Water Street.

Modernist architecture, ranging from the University of Liverpool campus to the historic business district, will be celebrated with tours hosted by Dominic Wilkinson, of the Modernist Society.

Building tours by the Liverpool Architecture Society will see architects present their work to other architects, exchanging ideas and sparking debate.

The Future Listings event will see 6 presenters, including:- conservation officers and private practitioners, make the case for adding a currently unlisted building to the protected register.

As part of the City Region's spatial development strategy, a competition has been launched to design a Post-Covid Town House with a first prize of ₤4,000 and ₤1,000 to the runner up.

Architects will present design ideas associated with reimagining The High Street to a judging panel of local planners, urban designers and conservation officers as part of the Design Charette.

The festival will come to a close with architecture studios opening their doors, allowing for a behind the curtain look into how practices undertake their work.

Mathew Giles, Founder, and co-Director director of the Liverpool Architecture Festival, said:- "The LAF is a great opportunity for Liverpool architects to come out swinging Post Covid. We recognise that Liverpool has received some negative architecture and construction press recently, and the festival is an excellent opportunity for us to come together and highlight the existing design talent that we have in the City Region. The inaugural festival is focussed. Through a mixture of free to attend lectures, workshops, charrettes, tours, and presentations we will build an architectural community. Architects presenting to architects will allow for the sharing of information, and experiences, resulting in a higher level of discourse, and ultimately a better quality built environment for the Liverpool City Region."


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