The London-based architecture practice is to open in the city in 2015, with a studio of a dozen staff headed up by partner Katie Tonkinson scheduled to launch by April.
HawkinsBrown is currently looking for office space it can refurbish to accommodate current staff and allow for future expansion.
Tonkinson is based in Manchester and worked for HawkinsBrown remotely.
The practice said that the opening of the Manchester office was part of a strategy to "engage with the architectural community around Manchester and the North, including increasing employment prospects for potential candidates outside of London and being able to be more involved in projects in the region, specifically in the higher education sector".
Current clients in the region include Urban Splash, with the HawkinsBrown design of the Park Hill redevelopment nominated for the Stirling Prize in 2013.
Roger Hawkins, founding partner at HawkinsBrown said: "We see HS2 as a catalyst to setting up a Manchester studio to serve the North rather than it being a drain to leak talent South. We have existing clients who can be served from Manchester together with a belief that there are plenty of opportunities and lots happening to give us confidence to open a new office in the region."