The development is composed of three distinct components: an orthogonal U-shaped component edging the street block and rising to 8, 9 and 11 storeys around a courtyard, a taller element at 23 storeys, and the retained and restored historic Department of Transport (DOT) Motorcycle building at 4 storeys. The development delivers 355 new homes in a range of 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments, along with three expansive residents’ roof top terraces, commercial/retail space, courtyard parking, cycle storage and upgraded public realm.
Buildings 1 and 2 both comprise residential uses, residents’ roof top gardens and at ground level, commercial/retail spaces. Located within the Castlefield Conservation Area, their façade expressions draw references from the historic context of notable industrial mill and warehouse buildings. Building 1, an 8 to 9 storey warehouse style L-shaped block, combines contemporary detailing, hand cast brick finish and bronze metal cladding and frames.
Building 2 is an 11 storey linear block with a 23 storey element set within the linear block. The tall element is shifted on grid to address the Mancunian Way and the city beyond. It features large scale full height façade components, with deep reveals to create a dynamic and animated impression that changes throughout the day. Its materiality is based on a simple palette comprising reconstituted stone mullions referencing the deep red and purple sandstone tones, textures and varying façade depths prevalent in many of the historic facades in Manchester. Recessed between the tight vertical grid are full height glazing and full height bronze coloured metal screens. At the lower levels facing the Mancunian Way, the screens conceal the acoustic attenuations to the opening rapid vents. Elsewhere, they guard the glazed opening doors and conceal duct work above the windows.
Building 3, the existing DOT Motorcycle building facing Ellesmere Street, will be refurbished and converted to provide homes and commercial space. While it is not listed, Building 3 is a positive contributor to the Castlefield Conservation Area and so its retention and conservation forms a key heritage benefit of the proposed development.
Effort has been made to replace and enhance the existing green infrastructure along Mancunian Way – low level walls, enhanced surface materials, planting design and tree planting elevate ground floor aesthetic and soften pedestrian level experience. A ground floor courtyard provides a sense of arrival and welcome, and a setting for communal facilities, using tree and ground cover planting with textured paved floor-scape.
Residents benefit from valuable amenity spaces in the form of three diverse and visually rich roof top terraces at Levels 8, 9 and 11. Each terrace offers spaces to socialise, catering for informal gatherings, alfresco dining, vegetable gardening and sheltered intimate seating areas.