Liverpool’s Canning Dock Set for £15 Million Transformation


Liverpool’s Canning Dock, a historic landmark dating back to 1765, is on the cusp of a significant transformation. Plans by Asif Khan Studio and artist Theaster Gates were recently given the green light, paving the way for a £15 million project that will revitalize the area. The project prioritizes public access and aims to create a space for ‘education, contemplation, and recreation.’ A key feature will be the South Dry Dock, constructed over 250 years ago, which will be accessible to the public for the very first time. This restoration will allow visitors to experience Liverpool‘s maritime history through a contemporary lens. The winning competition entry was first unveiled in 2021 (read designboom’s previous coverage here), at which time the team also included David Adjaye and Mariam Kamara.

theaster gates khan liverpoolvisualizations © Asif Kaan/Theaster Gates



khan + gates to expand public access with contemporary design


The focus on public space by Asif Khan and Theaster Gates will be further enhanced by the construction of an ‘experimental pavilion’ within the dock, along with a new footbridge planned to connect the Canning Dock with the Royal Albert Dock and create a more accessible waterfront experience in Liverpool. The wider public realm will also see improvements, with plans for level pathways, an open-air events space, and better interpretation of the surrounding historical elements. The overall design aims to create a multi-use destination that celebrates the area’s rich history and offer a vibrant space for the Liverpool community.

theaster gates khan liverpool
Liverpool’s Canning Dock to get £15 million makeover



a catalyst for renewal


Theaster Gates’ involvement in the project is particularly noteworthy. The internationally renowned artist is known for his work that explores themes of race and history. His contributions are expected to be integrated into the public realm elements, adding an artistic layer to the regeneration and ensuring the project reflects on the complexities of Liverpool’s past. The Canning Dock transformation project has the potential to be a significant catalyst for the city. The £15 million investment, partially funded by the government’s Levelling Up fund, is anticipated to create jobs, attract new residents and businesses, and further solidify Liverpool’s reputation as a major tourist destination.

theaster gates khan liverpool
Theaster Gates’ artistic touch will reflect on Liverpool’s complex historyplans approved for liverpool waterfront transformation by asif khan + theaster gates
the historic South Dry Dock to be opened to the public for the first time plans approved for liverpool waterfront transformation by asif khan + theaster gatesa new footbridge will connect the Canning Dock to the popular Royal Albert Dock


project info:


project title: Waterfront Transformation: Canning Dock

architecture: Asif KhanTheaster Gates

competition host: National Museums Liverpool (NML)

location: Liverpool, UK

status: competition winner