Halle St Peters

Ground broken at Hallé St Peter’s extension

Work has officially been started by main contractor HH Smith & Sons on the £4.3m redevelopment of the Manchester orchestra’s rehearsal and performance space in Ancoats.

In May, Place North West revealed that the Manchester construction firm had been appointed on the project, which includes a three-storey extension to be known as The Oglesby Centre, providing a new façade to the building’s Cutting Room Square elevation.

Facilities to be added include a café and kitchen, large new rehearsal space, education workshop facilities, individual practice spaces, and improved facilities for the Hallé’s musicians and choirs.

The redevelopment has been designed by Stephenson Studio, with Mace working as project manager and contract administrator for the Hallé Concerts Society and is set for completion in autumn 2019.

Rob Smith, director of HH Smith & Sons, said: “The Hallé’s commitment to investing in the heart of Ancoats and providing this inspirational facility is to be applauded. Future generations of talent will be nurtured and we’re proud to be playing a pivotal role in that process.”

David McKeith, chairman of the Hallé Concerts Society, said: “What starts today with this ceremony will end with the opening of a magnificent new facility that will see the Oglesby Centre at Hallé St Peter’s placed at the heart of the Hallé’s work.

“The Orchestra, our Choirs, Youth Ensembles and our education and community teams will see significant improvements, allowing them all to extend and develop their work.”

The Hallé has been supported in the project by Arts Council England, the Oglesby Charitable Trust, The Monument Trust, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Granada Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The Kirby Laing Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation and Siemens UK, along with Hallé Patrons and other benefactors.

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Can we not just have a nice public space with a lovely building fronting it, without spoiling everything with Stephenson Studio’s architecture?

By Anonymous

Such a shame, the original facade of the building is fantastic and it’s going to be completely obscured by the blocky extension

By PJH2015

Crazy comments from Anonymous and PJH2015. This is a fantastic addition to the city delivered by a great practice. How anybody can see beyond this is incredible.

By Stu

I agree with Stu, this will be an amazing addition to Manchester, in terms of architecture and culture, well done Stephenson Studio!

By an ordinary architect

Exactly how is this a ‘fantastic’ architectural addition to the city? It’s a few boxes shoved on an old church.

By Du Be Ous

This is really badly thought out. Might aswell put a shroud over the chimney whilst we’re at it.

By Matt O

Du Be Ous and Matt O there doing the easiest thing in the world – criticising something without either offering a suggestion for how to do it better or even qualifying what they’re saying.

By Stu

Great addition to Ancoats, tidying up the public square and the scruffy side of the church, whilst ensuring the church itself has a viable use.


Such a shame Cutting Room Square is going to be ruined by this Carbuncle cup contender.

By Anonymous

A complete mess, like much of what is being thrown up in Manchester.

By Graham

The square had such promise – most people are shocked when I tell them the church is going to be extended. The building that’s on site on the southern side of the square is just adding to that hemmed in feeling. A laughably-sized “public space” that reflects the ethos of urban realm provision in central Manchester.

By Hugh

Hi Stu! Firstly I’d design something that respected the Grade II* listed building and served to enhance it rather than obscure it with a big box. I’m thinking something lower level and to one-side maintaining the roofline of the church and keeping It legible in the streetscape as a focus for the square. Actually a quick google shows up James Foberts scheme which is in my opinion far superior: – http://jamiefobertarchitects.com/work/halle-st-peters/

By Du Be Ous

Get told Stu!

I wish commentators would recognise that criticisms made on this website are generally from a place of love and actually caring about the city being (re-)built. Manchester has so much potential, but generally its being squandered by poor design. Its doesn’t need to still be about “just get it built”, there is surely room for sensitive planning and context if the city is continue to prosper, and go from a place of convenience to one of desire.

By Hugh

I don’t need to offer alternatives, the other designs in the competition were largely better – they do that job for me. They weren’t chosen because this design gives more internal space.

This design isn’t sympathetic to the existing building at all, it doesn’t work particularly well with the existing chimney, and obscures the existing circular window from view, forever. Internally no natural light will enter through the circular window, ruining the aesthetic both inside and outside.

By Matt O