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The history of the Cunard Building

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Quote Originally Posted by BobEd View Post

The history of the Cunard Building dates back to 1914, when the Cunard Steamship Company commissioned the construction of new headquarters for the company. Cunard's expansion had meant that they had outgrown their previous offices, which were also located in Liverpool, and the site chosen for construction was at the former George's Dock, in between the Liver Building and Port of Liverpool Building. The building was designed by architects William Edward Willink and Philip Coldwell Thicknesse and was inspired by the grand palaces of Renaissance Italy. It was constructed by Holland, Hannen & Cubitts between 1914 and 1917, with Arthur J. Davis, of Mewes and Davis, acting as consultant on the project.

Architectural Design

"One of the faces of the world representing the global nature of Cunard's operations"

The Cunard Building's architectural style can be generally described as a mix of Italian Renaissance and Greek Revival, with a degree of Beaux-Arts influence on the building's structural form. Willink and Caldwell's designs were heavily influenced by the work of Italian architect Baldassare Peruzzi and more broadly Italian Renaissance palace design in general, with the Farnese Palace in Rome believed to have been particularly influential. Despite the strong Italian influence, the architects chose to introduce Greek style for the details around the building itself and, as the building is larger than the Italian palaces that provided its inspiration, its structural form was prominently based upon American Beaux-Arts buildings such as those in New York. The Cunard Building is approximately rectangular in shape, with nine bays on the east and west sides, and seventeen bays on the north and south sides. However, as it was constructed after the Liver Building and Port of Liverpool Building on either side of it, space limitations meant that the east (landward) side was actually built 30 foot (9 m) wider than the west. The central bays on each side provide the main entrance points into the building. Each entrance consists or a large panelled oak door, adorned by a pair of fluted columns and with a coffered ceiling. The Cunard Building stands six storeys tall and has two basement levels. Due to its construction on the site of the former George's Dock, part of the original dock wall is still visible in the eastern boundary of the first basement level.
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