Regenerating a site so that it reconnects into the grain of Manchester is an exciting and challenging project. The site sits above an existing redundant railway viaduct and currently presents almost half a mile of inactive frontage at street level. Developing plans for this ‘found space’ involved carefully balancing a number of significant constraints, including building over a listed viaduct (which contains a live primary substation), assessing the impact of any development on the site on the adjacent Grade II* listed former station building (now a conference centre), finding a way to maintain a fully operable service yard on the site for the conference centre during and after construction and bridging a Metrolink tram line.
Our proposal of a simple, elegant composition of buildings locks the development into its immediate context. A residential tower is carefully positioned to relate to the adjacent Beetham Hilton Tower and frame a new public route from the tram stop down to Watson Street and into the city. An office building bridges the tram line and creates a presence on Albion Street. The two buildings are connected by a landscaped terrace and a living wall which screen the retained service yard.