The U-Boat Story

In 2021, Big Heritage announced that they will be opening a major new attraction in the form of the U-Boat Project. The project involves Big Heritage transforming the current U-Boat Story to create a new, revitalised museum as a key part of the Woodside area’s £20m regeneration project. The museum will be constructed to display and protect U-534, a German WW2 submarine raised from the seabed in 1993. 

Funding has been secured to develop and enhance the existing museum space, and to transform it into an exciting, immersive experience, using technology to tell the story of this crucial battle for a diverse audience. The new attraction will link up the Birkenhead site and Big Heritage’s site, the Western Approaches. Their aim is to create a ground-breaking Battle of the Atlantic Centre across both sides of the River Mersey.

Alongside this, Big Heritage are working with maritime and heritage partners locally and nationally to create a long-term conservation management plan for U-boat which will be the star of the attraction.

Big Heritage approached us to help them to identify an architect for the scheme, and to support them in ensuring the ideas of the community could be heard throughout the project.

What we did

Our first step was to work with Big Heritage to understand what their aspirations were for the project. Together, we were able to develop a clear vision and design brief for the architect team. Following this, we helped the team to select an architecture practice that would understand their values and vision, and who could work with them to realise their ambitions. Following a selection process, MGMA Architects were appointed.

Alongside this, we developed an online engagement website to gather people’s thoughts and ideas about the project. We chose the website as an engagement tool due to the national and international interest in the project, along with Big Heritage’s success in developing a social media following.

The website includes an Ideas Wall, where people can leave comments and ideas about the project. Additionally, there is an interactive map for people to leave comments about specific parts of the area. Finally, there is a short survey.

The website has been live since early 2022 and will continue to be active for the foreseeable future.

Outcomes

Regularly reviews and reporting on ideas gathered though the website mean we’re able to provide updates to Big Heritage and MGMA to help shape the emerging design and programming of the exciting new attraction.

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