Master Planning \ New Urban Quarter Master Plan, Manchester

Our competition entry was for the new office buildings in the South of Manchester's new urban quarter, 2004. Unbuilt

One of the key aspects was to address the role which such a prominent and important site plays as a gateway to Manchester. The competition was held by Argent who have been working with the joint landowners, Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, to promote development at Piccadilly Place based on the initial masterplan.

Our proposal accepted the basic premise of the pre-existing masterplan but with some changes to the internal layout of the site, principally the creation of a single triangular pedestrian space linked in four directions to the exterior of the site.

Buildings D and F were designed to be 'background' with the exception of the north end of Building F taking advantage of the junction of Aytoun Street and the new proposed circular plaza. In contrast to these background buildings we chose to focus our energy on Building C which we fashioned as a symmetrical tower with its north and south facades on a gentle curve, set back at the entrance level, to accommodate the tram on the north side and the pedestrian area on the south.

The single core building is capable of sub-division down its long axis and the east and west terminations of the plan are reserved for the location of conference rooms. On the top floor we proposed a penthouse restaurant and bar (following on from the spectacular success of our restaurant Oloroso in Edinburgh) without terraces on the long elevations.

The environmental controls on this tall building were based on the idea of a double glass skin wall with horizontal louvers on the south side shading the occupants from direct sun whilst utilising the passive solar gain as a means of pre-heat in hollow core concrete floor slabs.

Architects Richard Murphy, Jamie McCutcheon
Client Argent and Joint Landowners, Manchester City Council
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