Students at Liverpool's John Moores University will have the privilege from the autumn term next year. Rick Mather Architects is on site with a £24m design academy next to the cathedral.

The practice designed the layout of the building around the multi-spired cathedral, the crown of which will be revealed as you go through the central atrium of the building a process that was carefully modelled by the practice. 'We have a very focused client,' says Rick Mather. 'And it is such a major space within the city that he wanted a building that would recognise the unique spot and the place of the building both physically and spiritually.'

Its border with the cathedral is underused, a steep bank officially known as the Wilderness, but the practice is hoping to landscape it at a gentler gradient and open up a new route. The building will also give the university a fresh face to the world as it amalgamates the facilities of various piecemeal properties around the city, the first of a series of developments.

The white brick with its flush lime mortar joints should read as a single plane to match the colours of the cathedral's Portland stone cladding (and its rather less elevated fibre-glass buttresses).

The brick fins of the facade will scoop up the north light but shade studios from stronger southern sun. The building will also house a 350-seat lecture theatre that can host performances and be used as a cinema and, at the base, galleries and a cafe that will bring local creative industries into the building to work with students.

Next year they will also be able to visit Le Corbusier's work at an exhibition in the cathedral crypt a safer inspiration for students to draw on, perhaps, than Gibberd, whose design led him into a law suit over a £3m repair bill for defects.