Squash Liverpool

Squash Front Entrance: Photo by Mark Loudon
Squash Front Entrance: Photo by Mark Loudon
Photo by Mark Loudon
Photo by Mark Loudon
Community Café: Photo by Mark Loudon
Community Café: Photo by Mark Loudon
Photo by Mark Loudon
Photo by Mark Loudon
Project date
  • Architecture
  • Consultation
  • Energy
  • Green Infrastructure
North West England
Associated team members
Associated documents

Squash is a creative food enterprise in Liverpool. It is led by a diverse group of local people who are committed to participatory social change. They believe that everyone should have equality of access to the enjoyment of good food in all of its aspects and culture

In 2014 Squash asked URBED to work with them to develop a new home on derelict land on Windsor Street in Liverpool 8. The idea of a community food hub had been evolving for a number of years and proposals were developed in collaboration with a community design team made up of local residents including growers, artists, cooks, environmentalists, bee-keepers and passionate vegetable fans who had all been involved in the development of the original idea. 

The building is intended to be environmentally responsible as well as creating a warm and welcoming space for the neighbourhood. It has high levels of insulation and triple-glazed windows to make it comfortable and cheap to run. It was constructed with a timber frame, including glu-lam beams. It is finished externally with FSC timber cladding from Scotland and a recyled steel roof. The insulation in the roof and walls is made from recycled newspaper. Recycled glass aggregate is used as the below-floor insualtion. It features many recycled, re-puposed and re-used materials in its fit-out. These include a shop counter made from left-over building materials, a timber floor that used to be in a school gym, and planters made from the mesh-fencing that used to surround the empty site.  

The new building opened in May 2018, creating a welcoming presence on Windsor Street. In the glorious summer of 2018 the garden proved a popular and sunny spot in the neighbourhood. It provides: 

1. A community shop selling sustainable, affordable produce

2. A community-run cafe producing seasonal, multicultural food

3. Community and professional training services including creative nutrition and urban agriculture.

4. A community-use kitchen including a ‘food lab’ for local food business start-ups. 

For more information about Squash and the work they do, you can visit their website here



Project blog

15.03.2019, 00:00
Squash In Use

The Squash building opened in May 2018. Since then has been a place to meet and eat for residents of Liverpool 8 and those from further afield. URBED and Carbon Coop held our joint Christmas Party there in December 2018 - with Squash very kindly catering for a group of twenty of us with a delicious vegetarian three course meal, allowing us to warm up after a cold walking tour of L8. 

We take an interest in the buildings we work on even after they are finished, so during Spring 2019 we have been working with a student from the University of Sheffield to carry out a post occupancy evaluation of the project - now that it's been in use for almost a year. This considered the views of staff and users, as well as looking at energy use and building systems - and is something we will learn from for this project, helping Squash to adjust building systems and processes, as well as using the knowledge gained in future projects.


04.12.2017, 09:20
Toxteth Food Central nears completion

As Squash Nutrition celebrate their 10th birthday, Toxteth Food Central nears completion on Windsor Street. As part of their birthday celebrations the building was opened up to the public for a very well attended Winter Get-Together.

Squash Nutrition will be moving in to the office space of Toxteth Food Central in mid-December, with completion of the building scheduled for soon after.

Installation of Scottish Larch timber cladding.

The shop space in use at the Winter Get-Together. Photo credit: @Patrici48854248

Installation of Scottish Larch timber cladding. Photo credit: @Patrici48854248

Photo credit: @nervemagazineuk

18.12.2015, 11:15
Rising from the ashes...

Following the devasting fire on site in October, Toxteth Food Central will rise from the ashes in the New Year!

The whole team have been overwhelmed by the stength of the support shown for the project. A fundrasing appeal by Squash Nutrition has raised over £10,000, which will go towards getting the project back on its feet. (If you'd like to contribute to this, you can do so here - https://www.gofundme.com/TFCFireRecovery). 

Until the fire happened the project was moving at breakneak speed, and was due to be finished by Christmas. We now hope to complete sometime in Spring/ early Summer, and will keep this blog updated as we progress. 

In the meatime, here are a few new visualisations of the project, to whet your appite until the real thing is up!

The garden and veranda at the rear of TFC


Cross Section of TFC


14.10.2015, 12:02

Late morning on Sunday 11th October, disaster struck!

There was a fire on the site, which has badly affected the timber frame of the building, meaning it will probably need to be taken down and re-built. 

It looks like the fire was started deliberately. No-one was hurt, and the fire brigade were able to get the fire under control, and the main structure stayed up and didn't collapse (and we can confirm that Warmcel cellulose insulation definitely does not burn! - not that we ever wanted to find out like this). However, there is now a lot of work that will need to be re-done, and there may be new unforseen costs and hurdles for the project. 

The project team are upset, but determined to carry on. What would have been an opening in the new year - we were about 8 weeks away from project compeltion - will now be an opening in Spring 2016.

If you want to help or find out more, then follow this link to a page set up by Squash Nutrition.  



08.10.2015, 00:00
Site progress

Progress continues on site, with the (mostly recycled) steel roof covering being fitted, and the walls all in place.

Windows are due to arrive soon, and the internal walls are due to be clad in plasterboard next week. 


02.10.2015, 00:00
Community cafe...

Its' not all about hard work. Every month during the construction Squash Nutrition are hotsing a community cafe in the Grapes Garden on Windsor Street.

Come along between 12pm and 2pm on the first Friday of the month to share good food and find out more about the project and Squash's cooking and growing activities. 


02.10.2015, 00:00
Insulating the frame...

The timber frame to the main building is now mostly complete, and we've started to install the recycled paper (cellulose) insulation, between the internal OSB board sheathing and the external woodfibre sheathing boards.

This is done by simply blowing the insulation into the frame, with a large reverse hoover - and making sure you stop the machine before it's full so you don't get covered in fluffy insulation!

Meanwhile, the internal works are proceeding with 'first fix' mechanical and electrical installs. 



11.09.2015, 00:00
Timber frame progress continued...

Work continues on site on the timber frame for the main building - we even have some sunny daus to take photos!


22.08.2015, 00:00
Timber frame...

The timber frame for the building is now under construction. This should go up pretty quickly, giving us a good idea of the shape of the building on the site.

It's great to see things moving along - and Mark and Steve from LBT have been working very hard to get things to this point. 


14.08.2015, 00:00
Concrete slab....

The concrete slab for the building needs to be heavily reinforced, because the ground below is not in good condition. One of the dis-benefits of building on 'brownfield' land. 

Work on the re-inforcement for the slab took place once the insulation and membranes below the slab was fitted. 

Colourful signs have also been made to provide information for people passing the project on Windsor Street - a popular route into and out of the city centre. 


12.08.2015, 00:00
Starting on site...

Work started on site at Toxteth Food Central at the end of July with LBT Construction.

The ground was prepared and dug for the new raft slab foundation, designed to support the timber frame building above.

We chose to insulate below the slab, using a material called 'Technopor' - a recycled glass granualte. This has a few benefits - it means the slab is on the 'warm side' of the building, so all the thermal mass in within the building envelope. It means we minimise the amount of digging we need to do - as the technopr is both insulation and acting as hardcore/ binding below the slab, reducing the overall depth of the build up. And it means the insulation can simply be 'poured' into place, which is quicker than fixing lots of individual insulation boards. 





01.06.2015, 12:49
Planning Approved!

We're pleased to announce that Toxteth Food Central recieved planning permission at the end of April 2015. We're now working hard to finalise the details of the scheme, before starting on site this summer. Squash Nutrition have appointed a contractor - Ellis Murray Group - and they're keen to get going as soon as possible. We've also had further meetings with the community design team, to discuss matters such as window opening styles and finishes. There will be monthly community design cafes throughout the summer, on the second Friday every month, in the Grapes Garden on Windsor Street. If you're interested, get in touch with Squash Nutrition. 


GBS windows with the community design team


10.03.2015, 14:53
Planning Submitted

After further community design sessions in January and February 2015, we submitted the planning application for Toxteth Food Central at the end of February. If you'd like to see it or make comments you can view it on Liverpool City Council's online planning exploring here. You can also find the design and access statement on this page.

If you want to find out more, you can also come along to the events and talks on the project that form part of the 'Food for Real' film festival, run by Squash Nutrition, on 21st March. You can find out about these and all the other wonderfull stuff happening across a weekend of film and food on the dedicated website here

22.12.2014, 16:42
Squash Nutrition - Public Consultation Event

On 16th and 19th December 2014, in conjunction with Squash Nutrition and the Grapes Group, we held a public consultation event at John Archer Hall on Windsor Street for Toxteth Food Central. This gave people from the local area and from further afield the chance to come and find out about the project, and contribute their thoughts to its development.

As well as presenting ideas about the project and site on the corner of Windsor Street and Upper Warwick Street - for details see linked PDF file of the consultation boards - there were discussions of ideas for the wider Windsor Street corridor, a vegetable tombola and mince pies a plenty!


22.12.2014, 16:28
Squash Nutrition - Design Workshops

Throughout November 2014 we held a number of design workshops and participated in a field trip with the Grapes Group, who've been working with Squash Nutrition to develop proposals for Toxteth Food Central. These aimed to explore and test ideas for the building - what it might contain, who might visit it and use if, and how it should feel as a place.

Model makingcollage making