Main contractor Balfour Beatty has completed the base build of the much-anticipated engineering campus, touted as the largest single construction project undertaken by a UK higher education institution.
The £400m Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) was handed over to the University of Manchester at the end of last week and is designed to house a community of 8,000 students, researchers, academics and professional services staff.
The development incorporates a cluster of new and existing buildings: the eight-storey 860,000 sq ft Engineering Building A; Engineering Building B and the James Chadwick Building on Upper Brook Street; the refurbished grade two-listed Oddfellows Hall, which completed last October, and the York Street Building.
It features purpose-designed blended lecture theatres, teaching laboratories, student workshops and a range of spaces for outreach and social engagement initiatives. The MECD was designed by architects at Mecanoo with support from studio Penoyre & Prasad, while BDP led detailed design during the technical and construction stages and multidisciplinary firm Arup provided engineering services.
The project was managed by Buro Four, and Buro Happold was the environmental sustainability advisor, which helped achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating for the scheme as well as an active travel hub and green roof.
“This is a hugely significant milestone for MECD that the initial construction phase is now complete,” said Diana Hampson, director of estates at The University of Manchester.
“MECD will create facilities that will put the university at the forefront of engineering globally, and we are proud to provide such an exceptional space for our exceptional people. We’d like to thank the various partners and stakeholders in getting us this point – it it really has been a collaborative effort.”
The campus is part of the university’s research and innovation hub and sits immediately adjacent to two flagship centres of excellence – the National Graphene Institute and the Henry Royce Institute, the UK’s national institute for advanced materials research and innovation, off Oxford Road in Manchester city centre.
MECD “is a key part of Manchester’s new urbanism, physically extending the city centre into its academic axis, and combining epic scale with connectivity, heritage and new public space for everyone”, noted Francine Houben, creative director and founding partner of Mecanoo.
“We’re extremely pleased to have reached this critical milestone on such an important project – one that will transform the way in which the University of Manchester educates our future workforce of engineers,” added Mark Pearson, project director at Balfour Beatty.