Case Study: Reader Organisation, Refurbishment

PLACED worked with the Reader Organisation to engage local schools in developing creative design ideas for the refurbishment of Calderstones Mansion House, located in Calderstones Park, Liverpool, which they are transforming into an International Centre for Reading and Wellbeing.

Client aims

  • To gain an understanding of what young people would want from the building, and in particular the Calderstones Story Space
  • Invite young people to develop and share their own designs for the space
  • Develop links with local young people and schools, raising awareness of the new development.


  • PLACED recruited five schools to take part in one day workshops. In total over 150 secondary and primary pupils aged 8-16 participated
  • Pupils experienced a guided tour of the Mansion, considered who may use the building and developed design briefs
  • They then developed inspiring and creative designs for the Calderstones Story Space, from designing furniture to the concept for the whole room. They used drawings and models to develop their ideas, supported by the PLACED Team
  • The schemes were presented to staff at the Reader Organisation, allowing reflection, discussion and recording of ideas.


  • The development of strong design concepts and design ideas that could be taken forward in the design process
  • A knowledge of what would attract young people to the centre as a key audience
  • Greater understanding of potential users for the Calderstones Story Centre, and an enhanced organisational appreciation of the diverse makeup of people who would use the Mansion
  • Increased community awareness of new facility and buy-in to investment, in particular among young people and local schools
  • Social value through supporting the development of participants skills and knowledge, linking to the social objectives of the Reader Organisation.

Client Feedback

Support pre-delivery

  • A pleasure to work with, good communication and attention to detail.


  • I expected the activity to be fun and creative as well as teaching the participants about architecture. The workshops surpassed my expectations.

Outcomes of the activities for the organisation and participants

  • The PLACED workshops help to bring the redevelopment of Calderstones to life and give the community the real experience of helping contribute to its rebirth. Some of the ideas that children were encouraged to develop have real potential and will be shared with the design team and others. It has also helped in expanding our engagement with schools and young people and has helped to give the Mansion a meaning to many schools and children from the local area who have not had the chance to engage with the building or the park.

Additional comments?

  • It was a pleasure to work with PLACED helping to inspire young people to engage with their architectural environment. The concepts that were produced are sure to have influence on the designers and architects in our project. If we were to undertake any further project requiring audience engagement and architecture would not hesitate in commissioning PLACED to deliver their engagement workshops. There was good feedback from all involved, including staff members who had the opportunity to engage with the pupils from the schools and admire their hard work.

“I enjoyed having adults LISTEN to our ideas about the local area and designing a place for us”


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PLACED is the trading name for PLACE Education CIC Company Registration Number 7791873