Ainsley Gommon Architects


Cosmopolitan Housing & Birkenhead YMCA


Birkenhead, Wirral


£620k to £1.35m

Date Completed

Feasibility Design Spring 2009

Development Overview

Ainsley Gommon was originally involved in the design of the temporary refurbishment and building upgrade of the 1960’s Quarry Bank flats. The blocks of flats provided temporary residential accommodation for the YMCA residents for 12 months during the construction of the new adjacent YMCA building. Following the transfer of the residents into the new YMCA Ainsley Gommon carried out designs and specification proposals for several permanent refurbishment and improvement options for the flats.

Three refurbishment options to upgrade the existing block were considered. These included an upgrade to achieve Decent Homes and further additional design proposals which aimed to improve the overall thermal performance of the existing block. Other standards were considered within the process, such as designing to comply with Lifetime Homes, although the criteria can be difficult to achieve in an existing building. We produced various design options together with annotated drawings and diagrams showing the potential benefits of the additional proposed works. We also carefully considered how the facade of the block could potentially be transformed through externally applied insulated render systems and new roof coverings. Three dimensional visuals were created to show a direct comparison between the options. The external areas and landscaped amenity space was also incorporated into the design proposals. The options were costed to assess the viability of each.

Due to many identical blocks across the Wirral, the exercise shows how a series of improvements could offer long term benefits through a wider refurbishment programme.