BDP wins M&E brief for Town Hall revamp

The Manchester studio of BDP has been appointed to modify the interior of Manchester's Town Hall Extension and Central Library to bring them up to modern sustainable standards.

The project to replace, upgrade and provide safe, resilient, flexible and adaptable mechanical and electrical systems throughout the two buildings will enable Manchester City Council to deliver its transformation programme, which will see the council function in an even greener and more energy efficient way, as well as providing improved services for residents and visitors.

Mike Whitehurst, BDP Manchester's environmental engineering director, will lead an inter-disciplinary team of specialists responsible for delivering the mechanical and electrical facets of the refurbishment.

Whitehurst said: "Together these listed buildings are one of the focal points of the city and have a unique character that we are striving to preserve. But it is obviously a complex task to try and bring such historic infrastructure into the 21st century and make it genuinely sustainable.

"From our experience, we understand that sensitive integration of modern technologies is an important part in any refurbishment project. Some of the buildings' internal engineering has reached the end of its useful life and the project will require both very careful planning and delicate execution.

"Our vision is that the project sets the standard for environmental performance and carbon emissions that changes the misconception that it is too difficult to achieve this in historic buildings."

Cllr Nigel Murphy, assistant executive member for the environment at Manchester City Council, said: "Manchester has an ambitious plan to reduce the city's carbon emissions by 41% by 2020 and putting energy efficiency at the heart of our own buildings underlines the council's determination to lead by example. Along with providing accessible services to residents and visitors, one of the guiding principles of our transformation programme is improving the environmental performance of these historic gems."

The Town Hall Complex Transformation programme will see the Town Hall Extension and Central Library extensively refurbished by 2014. It will also involve an international design competition to ensure St Peter's Square provides a world-class setting for both historic buildings. The designs of the refurbishments are being produced by Ian Simpson Architects for the Town Hall Extension and Ryder Architects the Central Library. Construction work is due to commence in 2011.

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Great to see that this old lady of Manchester is finally getting a spruce up.

By Brian H

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