Details of Hodder + Partners’ design for the 39-storey tower set to be built as part of the St Michael’s development in Manchester city centre have been revealed as part of a public consultation event taking place today.
The 31-storey tower has a lozenge-like footprint and sits on top of a podium, making it 39 storeys in total. Crucial to the design is keeping the structural core in the building’s centre, which according to architect Stephen Hodder ensures it is outward-facing from all angles.
“A tower should never turn its back on a city”, he said. Due to its shape, he also described the building as having “a blade-like profile”, narrowing to nine metres at its thinnest.
In July, the St Michael’s team revealed significant changes to its plans for the mixed-use redevelopment of Jackson’s Row, including retaining the Abercromby pub and the façade of Bootle Street Police Station, and reducing the scheme from two down to one tower. While the partnership confirmed that the tower would be two metres shorter than the previously proposed tallest tower, detailed designs were yet to be drawn up.
The revised tower will contain 170 apartments over 19 storeys, and a 200-bedroom premium hotel over 12 storeys, a similar number to the earlier scheme. The building is designed to sit on a podium, connected via steps to the roof of a nine-storey neighbouring office, to deliver 25,000 sq ft of outdoor space which would be operated by a bar or other venue. A three-storey penthouse apartment will sit on top of the tower.
The St Michael’s partnership is made up of directors and ex-footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, Manchester City Council, developer Brendan Flood, Singaporean funder Rowsley, and Beijing Construction Engineering Group. Zerum is planning advisor.
Ken Shuttleworth’s Make was architect on the scheme, until Stephen Hodder was appointed as independent advisor in March, taking over as lead architect in June.
Overall, the scheme will include residential, hotel, offices, public realm, a new synagogue, and f&b outlets.
On behalf of St Michael’s Partnership, Neville said: “This scheme has attracted national interest as well as passionate views in the Manchester community. We promised to present the tower and rooftop designs to seek responses before we submit the final plan for consent, and so we’re delighted to reveal them now.
“We were encouraged by the generally positive response to July’s consultation and by calls from certain quarters to be bold in our ambition and create something remarkable on the city’s skyline.
“We have kept faith with our central vision of creating a true world-class, mixed-use destination with a signature development of the highest quality including residential living, Grade A offices, a five-star hotel, exciting retail and leisure units and unique outdoor spaces.
“The confidence of investors and occupiers has been retained throughout this process and, subject to planning approval, we will be on site by spring/early summer 2018.”
Hodder said: “A tall building is, by its very nature, viewed in the round, it must never turn its back on the city. We have always maintained that the tower should have a north/south orientation, with residential accommodation facing east and west, presenting an elegant ‘blade-like’ face to St. Ann’s Square. This suggested a building whose shape was narrow at the ends, and wider at its waist.”
Final plans are to be submitted in September.
The latest designs will be available to view from 11am today, in the Grand Hall at the Royal Exchange, until 7pm.
Views from attendees at the public consultation this morning:
Adam Prince, campaigner at Manchester Shield, said: “It just shows what happens when you don’t listen to people that buildings like this actually affect. The previous design of the two towers was horrendous, but they’ve improved with the curve of this new one, and it’s brilliant that there is only one building, too. Now that St Michael’s has consulted local people, while it isn’t perfect, the fact that heritage is being retained is certainly a good thing.”
Oliver Dolan, associate director at JLL, said: “They’ve done such a U-turn, even though I don’t think it was that bad to begin with. Architecture and development is constantly changing and evolving, so buildings like this have to reflect that which is what I think they’ve achieved.”
As well as the positive comments, some people remain concerned. The Friends’ Meeting House Manchester is a religious place of worship for Quakers and sits in Mount Street close to where the new buildings will be erected. A member of the team, who didn’t want to be named, said: “We are very worried about how this will affect any meetings or events we have due to noise, among other factors. We used to be one of the tallest buildings in Manchester but now we just get overshadowed. There’s nothing we can do but wait and see how the development affects us, but we are pleased that there is just one [tall] building now.”