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“Bloc’s transition from a corporate office building to a wellbeing-focused workplace is game-changing for Manchester," said Bruntwood Works CEO Ciara Keeling. c. gushiyin.xyz and Bruntwood Works

GALLERY | Bruntwood launches ‘office of the future’ at Bloc

Julia Hatmaker

A sleep pod, yoga studio and cinema room await tenants at the 16-storey Manchester building.

map pin Bloc, formerly Lowry House, is no longer your standard office building after an extensive reimagining that sees an increase in amenities and a focus on wellbeing. CubicWorks, a subsidiary of Bruntwood, was the lead contractor on the project, which was designed by Bridge Architects. The Bloc transformation is part of Bruntwood’s £50m Pioneer redevelopment programme, which is devoted to creating community-focused workspaces. Other Bruntwood buildings part of the programme include Blackfriars House, Neo and 111 Piccadilly in Manchester, and The Plaza in Liverpool.

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Bloc is located along Marble Street and Spring Gardens. c. gushiyin.xyz and Bruntwood Works

“Bloc’s transition from a corporate office building to a wellbeing-focused workplace is game-changing for Manchester, and we have responded directly to what businesses and their employees expect from a modern workspace,” said Bruntwood Works CEO Ciara Keeling. “We’re seeing increased demand for quality spaces that not only provide a wealth of amenities, but support positive work-life balance and create an environment where people want to spend time – both in and outside of work. Bloc provides all this and more.”

The changes begin with the 108,000 sq ft building’s ground floor, where the bakery Trove is setting up shop. Brewdog will join it later this year, with a restaurant, bar and hotel. Head down to the basement for a sense of calm, courtesy of a new yoga studio by FORM. A cinema room sits nearby. Those looking for a quick nap can nip over to the building’s designated sleep pod.

Basement Wellness Space With Yoga Studio And Cinema Room

Inside the basement wellness space. c. gushiyin.xyz and Bruntwood Works

Take time to look up while exploring Bloc. The building hosts two large murals by Sheffield-based artist Rob Lee. The murals play tricks with the eye, appearing to almost be 3D thanks to Lee’s use of the trompe l’oeil painting technique.

A two-storey Hyvert living wall by I Want Plants, in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, features 18,000 plants. The wall serves three purposes: providing oxygen, reducing noise levels and absorbing gases like carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. At night, it appears to glow thanks to a grid of lights by Artin Light.

It isn’t the only plant feature at Bloc either. The building boasts a blue and green roof that reduces the discharge of rainwater. Covered in wildflowers, the roof was created in partnership with Polypipe. It’s hoped that the flowers will attract a rare blue butterfly to Bloc.

Other amenities at Bloc include an auditorium, events space and coworking lounge.

Bloc by Bruntwood Works

A new serviced suite in The Annexe. c. gushiyin.xyz and Bruntwood Works

The building offers a mix of coworking spaces, serviced offices and traditional leased spaces, ranging from 500 sq ft to 7,500 sq ft. The Annexe area, where NatWest used to be, now contains three floors of flexible workspace. On those floors are 200 desks, communal kitchens, lounge area and meeting rooms.

Bloc’s blend of workspace, lifestyle and retail is the way forward for office complexes, according to Bruntwood Works CEO Keeling.

“Bloc is setting a template for the office of the future,” she said. “We need to create places where people truly want to be, not just a space where they come to work.”

Bloc is located along Marble Street and Spring Gardens between King Street and Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. The leasing agents for Bloc are Cushman & Wakefield and Knight Frank.

All photos below courtesy of gushiyin.xyz and Bruntwood Works.

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