This development formed part of the overall Shambles redevelopment, a central element within the Manchester City Centre rebuilding strategy we proposed following the IRA bomb explosion in 1996.
Raised above a retail podium, 84 fully-glazed apartments sit within the upper 14 floors, providing views and good quality daylighting to all homes. The crystalline prismatic form of these residential floors, delicately supported on a series of dramatic inclined steel columns is an iconic and instantly recognizable building within the city. All homes are fully glazed and utilize a variable twin skin louvre system to the balcony outer edge. This provides a highly usable and unique semi-outdoor space, an extension to the living accommodation, while at the same time assisting with acoustic, solar and thermal gain issues. The sloping roof provides penthouses with open terraces.
The two-storey fully glazed retail podium below the columns provides animated façades at street level and wraps around the corner to form a coherent whole with the overall city block. This simple, elegant and prominent frontage onto Deansgate creates a focal point from all directions. In the basement below it sits a residents’ car park.
The supporting steel columns articulate the retail and residential components, and form a triple height sky-lobby for the residents, allowing the building to cantilever over the street and facilitate a change in the structural grid between retail/carpark and residential. The generous height between the podium and the underside of the apartment tower accentuates the visual separation of the retail and the residential.
The tall, slender, simple form of the residential tower relates in scale to other tall buildings in the vicinity, strengthening the dramatic long views down this major route through the city and framing the view of the Cathedral further north along Deansgate. The height of the residential tower steps down from its highest point on St Mary’s Gate to relate to the Cathedral and to acknowledge and respect the variety of the building heights in the surrounding context.