Grosvenor West Building exterior MMU p TWA Marketing

MMU starts £10m Grosvenor West refurb

Work to regenerate the grade two-listed building – the historic home of Manchester School of Art – on Oxford Road is scheduled to complete in spring 2024, led by contractor Conlon Construction.

Manchester Metropolitan University is in the middle of a long-term programme to upgrade its city centre campus, demolishing some outdated properties, building new ones, and refurbishing others.

For example, last year it opened its 55,600 sq ft new build School of Digital Arts, known as SODA, to expand the university’s facilities for students in the creative, digital and tech sectors. The five-storey property sits on Higher Chatham Street next to the Manchester School of Art’s Benzie Building.

MMU also last year completed the refurbishment of 99 Oxford Road into a 50,000 sq ft Institute of Sport, and it is on site building the £45m Faculty of Science & Engineering, a part new-build, part-refurbishment of the John Dalton complex on Chester Street.

The Grosvenor West Building refurbishment is the latest scheme to get underway. Designed by architect Cassidy + Ashton, the project comprises fabric repairs to the 141-year-old property’s exterior brick and stonework, roof, and roof lights, and the addition of secondary glazing to improve insulation.

The work also includes upgrading and replacing internal heating and lighting systems, maintaining, enhancing, and reintroducing original heritage assets, and enhancing accessibility.

The 46,000 sq ft Grosvenor West Building was designed by George Tunstal Redmayne and opened in 1881. It was later extended in 1898 with the rear addition designed by Joseph Gibbons Sankey.

As well as housing Manchester School of Art – the UK’s second oldest art school, which also spans several other buildings on the MMU campus, including the Benzie Building – the Grosvenor West Building has also been home to the Holden Gallery, a public gallery situated at the heart of the building, which has functioned as a gallery since the property was extended.

The Holden Gallery is connected to Grosvenor East, an Allies and Morrison-designed new home for MMU’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, which completed in 2020 and also contains the Manchester Poetry Library, a cafe, exhibition space, and a 180-seat studio theatre, on Manchester’s Oxford Road corridor.

Conlon was appointed last July to lead the £10m refurbishment project at the Grosvenor West Building, for which work has now started after other campus buildings were altered to create additional temporary accommodation for the Manchester School of Art. Conlon also recently completed a £4.8m refurbishment of MMU’s adjacent grade two-listed Ormond Building.

Professor Martyn Evans, pro-vice chancellor of arts and humanities at MMU, said: “Manchester School of Art has a proud and important legacy in our city, and its historic home in the listed Grosvenor West Building is central to that.

“We are pleased to be working with Conlon Construction and Cassidy + Ashton to preserve and refresh this inspiring space, so that it can continue to nurture future generations of artists, designers, and makers.”

Simon Barlow, associate architect at Cassidy + Ashton, added: “This is a substantial project that will draw on our experience as heritage architects, and also on our enthusiasm and dedication to play a part in conserving and promoting heritage properties, and making them fit for the next generation of people that will use them.

Conlon’s commercial director Darren Lee said: “The plans are exciting and carefully considered, and the end result promises to be something very special. This is a place with a prestigious legacy that, with our help, will celebrate the features and history of the building, transforming it into an efficient and motivating place to study and garner inspiration for years to come.”

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Money well spent in my opinion. Well done MMU.

By Anonymous

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