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The Spine

The Spine, Liverpool, the Royal College of Physicians new Northern HQ, 2021.

Royal College of Physicians

The UK’s Royal College of Physicians was established by King Henry VIII in 1518 as the first recognized body in Great Britain to regulate medical practice. The College for many years was considered as an elite institution with only up to 8 people each year invited to take the examination and potentially become a member. This ritual involved scrutiny by the RCP committee in the Sensors Room, a space that has followed RCP to each of its homes. Moore, R. (2014). Anatomy of a Building. Little Brown Book Group.

Following a Royal College of Physicians (RCP) led competition, AHR Architects were commissioned
to design the new northern home for the RCP, The Spine in The Knowledge Quarter, Liverpool UK.
Designed by architect Rob Hopkins, Regional Director at AHR. The Spine is set to become, one of the
healthiest buildings in the World.

The RCP are pioneers in all areas of medicine, authoring numerous evidence-based papers and
reports. However, based in London since 1964, the organisation was starting to have a ‘London-
centric’ reputation and needed to significantly expand its facilities in order to reflect its standing in the
world of medicine. The London base for the RCP was designed in 1964 by Sir Denys Lasdun and was
highly influential for Hopkins when creating his design narrative for The Spine, as Lasdun placed a
similar importance on the use of natural light and themes relating to the human body, in his design.

The WELL Building Standard was created by Delos Living LLC and is a performance-based system
for certifying and monitoring the built environment and its connection to user health and wellbeing.
When compiling the WELL Building Standard, Delos unsurprisingly referred to much of the RCP’s
research. So, in response to the client’s brief for the occupants ‘to be healthier when they walk out of
the building, than when they walk in’, WELL was a natural starting point for Hopkins to work from,
when designing The Spine.

Hopkins later commissioned Salvedge Sustainable Design Ltd to work with his design team, in
providing biophilic and salutogenic design strategies, to help them attain the highest standards
possible in WELL and BREEAM. When it opened in early 2021, it was the first building in the world to
be awarded a WELL Platinum for the construction and fit-out and a BREEAM Outstanding, for the
structure. Furthermore, it has attained 109 out of a possible 110 WELL Version 2 Credits, the highest
of any other WELL building in the World.

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Buzzing restaurant serving classical Italian dishes with modern touches served in stylish surrounds.

'In 2010, Salvos Italian restaurant in Headingley, Leeds, won Gordon Ramsey's ‘F Word’ competition for the UK's best local restaurant and as a result, the owners decided to extend and refurbish their very popular restaurant. They wanted a designer who they could work closely with, so they commissioned a family member, Karen Dammone Interior Architecture, to produce the design proposals. 


Karen was an ex-student of Steve Edge’s and just setting up in practice, and she asked him to mentor her through the design and construction process. He also acted as her sustainable design advisor, recommending green materials and products and providing her with the Sustainable Design and Access statement, which helped her gain Building Regulation approval for her clients.

'As you can  see, the results were stunning.'

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