Bluecoat continues 300th anniversary celebrations with University of Liverpool

Visitors enjoying the work. Credit: Brian Roberts

Bluecoat continues 300th anniversary celebrations with handover of historic architecture plans to University of Liverpool.

On Saturday 22 April, Bluecoat and the University of Liverpool cemented a century old relationship with the handover of historic plans to the University’s Special Collections and Archives at an event at Bluecoat, Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts.

The event also marked the opening of a new exhibition of student design work titled ‘Architecture + Bluecoat’ – which considers how a 21st century art gallery can mesh with a city centre site and a Grade One Listed historic building.

Students from Studio Two of the School of Architecture have spent time developing a series of designs and models which can be viewed at Bluecoat until 18th June. It is the first time the department has exhibited at the iconic gallery since 1932. This exhibition runs alongside an extensive ongoing heritage display: Bluecoat at the Heart of Liverpool Culture, which focuses on the architectural developments of Bluecoat’s building over the years.

Bluecoat is celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2017 and has a long connection with architecture in Liverpool. In 1909 following the move of the Blue Coat School to Wavertree, the UK’s first school of Architecture and Civic Design was founded under the charismatic Professor Charles Reilly in the vacated Bluecoat building and remained there until 1918.

The historic plans were drawn up for the restoration of the city centre’s oldest building after it was severely damaged in the blitz of May 1941. Following their presentation to the University at Saturday’sevent, these plans will now be added to the collection at the university so they may be preserved and used by future generations.

‘Architecture + Bluecoat’ runs until 18th June.

Bluecoat’s anniversary celebrations continue throughout 2017 with Pierre Henry: The Liverpool Mass on Sat 13 May at 7.30pm, performed 50 years after it was commissioned, by his sound designer Thierry Balasse at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral.

Then, from 6 May – 24 June Bluecoat hosts a major solo exhibition by Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour titled In the Future, They Ate From the Finest Porcelain.
Showing at the same time will be a new installation ‘Proxy’ by British artist Louisa Martin, where choreographed light and sound induces a set of particular emotional and physiological states

July sees two major moments in the anniversary year. From 1 to 9 July, Bluecoat hosts an ambitious new performance installation from Siobhan Davies Dance. material / rearranged / to / be.

From 21 July until 1 October, the gallery opens Abacus, a group exhibition aimed at children. Inspired by Bluecoat’s origins as a charity school, Abacus will explore alternative approaches to creative education.

Project Manager for My Bluecoat, Gavin Davenport said: “The evening was a real celebration of the project, and it was wonderful to see the passion for architecture and the building from guests and the students themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to highlight the long and significant architectural heritage here at Bluecoat”

Professor Soumyen Bandyopadhyay, Sir James Stirling Chair in Architecture, Univeristy of Liverpool accepts architectural drawings of Bluecoat from artistic director Bryan Biggs. Credit: Brian Roberts