Ed Howe Skyline 2022

VIDEO | Manchester skyline in 2022

Ed Howe

An animated fly-through produced for Place North West shows how the Manchester skyline would look in 2022 if the series of proposed skyscrapers by developers including Allied London, Renaker and Elliot Group is built.

The video uses Google Sketchup to render proposed buildings, taking elevations from the various planning applications to make the buildings look photo-realistic. Sketchup allows the user to build models to millimetre proximity, whilst Google Earth enables these buildings to be plotted on exact sites; the skyscrapers represented in the video build an accurate model of Manchester’s future skyline.

The buildings shown have different completion dates. The first scene in the video shows Renaker’s 44-storey Exchange Court in Greengate, shown to the right, and Elliot Group’s Residence, two towers of 15 and 34 floors, to the left. Exchange Court is currently under construction, completion due in 2019. The Residence is now at groundworks, hopefully completing by 2020. Renaker’s Owen Street towers, set to stretch from 39 to 66 storeys, shown prominently at 0:15mins, are currently under construction and will be complete by 2020. Nearby 27-storey Axis by Property Alliance and Inhabit’s 35-storey tower, both at Deansgate Locks, are also pictured, although the Ask Real Estate scheme behind Manchester Central, currently awaiting planning permission, is not shown. At 1:03mins the 52-storey St John’s Place and shorter St John’s Living towers appear on the righthand side and Trinity Islands cluster, reaching up to 67 storeys, to the left. Allied London is redesigning its biggest St John’s tower but the rest has a completion date of 2022.

There’s a whole raft of proposals not featured in this video, such as Select Property’s Affinity Living scheme at New Bailey, although the same developer’s Circle Square scheme can be seen on the far left at 0:29. Angel Gardens and Far East Consortium’s newly-proposed tower at Angel Meadow Park are also not shown but will have an enormous impact on the skyline at the northern end of the city. Although skyscrapers, generally accepted as anything above 25 storeys, make the biggest impact on the skyline, there are also numerous “mid-rises” between 10 and 25 storeys not shown here which will ‘bulk up’ the skyline, making it much less gappy. There are many midrise schemes across Manchester which probably enters the hundreds nowadays, prominent ones include 2 St Peter’s Square, 125 Deansgate, the rest of Circle Square, Manchester New Square, DeTrafford’s Manchester Gardens scheme on the Chester Road corridor, the various Manchester Life projects at Ancoats and projects in Salford Quays.

On the subject of Salford Quays – that place has its own developing skyline which isn’t quite as large or as tall as central Manchester’s but is still nonetheless impressive with schemes such as Peel’s MediaCityUK Phase 2 delivering about 10 new tall buildings overall, Fortis’s Furness Quay development which proposes a 90m apartment tower amongst other buildings, DeTrafford’s “Wavelength” proposal – as well as X1 MediaCityUK, four 96m towers, and X1 The Gateway, 21 floors.

Considering the standout tower on the current skyline is Beetham Tower at 44 storeys Manchester is set to have an exciting cityscape in just a few years’ time.

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Out of date already with what’s gone up / going up alongside Ellesmere Street / Hulme Hall Lane (Glenbrook and Pochin sites)

By Keith Nicholls

What this shows, as much as the number of proposed skyscrapers, is just how low-density some other parts of the city centre are.

By Interested Party

Brilliant article as usual Ed. Thanks very much.

By Steve B

The young boy in me gets excited by skylines. However the sad thing is that no human will see these views on a day-to-day basis as they’re from a perspective that’s 30-40 metres up I need the air. It will be interesting to see what kind of spaces all these tall buildings create for us mere mortals down on the street.

By Mancunian

Bland Boring and Hideous. Faceless blocks placed haphazardly in our great city – where is the masterplan for this

By Notlobphil

I hope the LA type cityscape of large towers surrounded by acres of car parking doesn’t become a reality, although I fear that it will.

By Unaplanner

Oh, this was underwelming, theres a few missed off, No 1 Spinningfields, 2-4 Chester Road and as meantioned about Elsemere street.

By .

The best skyline outiside of London by far.

By Casey

Axis is going to be the greatest building ever erected in the UK.This must surely be the case,as they have building it since Adam wore booties.

By Elephant

Manchester’s skyline will never be as iconic as Liverpool’s

By fantasticbeast

Liverpool’s skyline isn’t iconic, I don’t even think it qualifies as a skyline tbh

By ohm

Just waiting for a blinkered scouse comment and there you go, its arrived.
Didn’t notice the proposed Gary Neville sky scrapers.

By phildered

@fantasticbeast Clickbait

By Liam

A great, modern city to be proud of…….

By Schwyz

OMG! I’m Shocked
Is this the most boring, bland, uninspired set of high rise building ever in one location??
Where’s the architecture? Where’s the inspiring building ?
Surely to god the planners won’t let Manchester be ruined FOR EVER by this lot of towers built to maximise every penny of profit with no thought of asthetic ???

By David Stafford

God! Here we go again. My Dad is bigger than your Dad. My skyline is better than yours. My football team has won more European cups than yours and mine has the biggest airport. Our music scene is better, we had Merseybeat and we had Madchester. As someone born in the North West who is neither Scouse nor Manc, let me intervene. Liverpool has the better skyline at present, but if Manchester continues to build big skyscrapers it will be more startling from a distance. Manchester appears more confident, economically too. The waterfront in Liverpool is the best in the U.K., if not Europe, though Oporto is amazing too. Manchester is better than Liverpool for culture, but Liverpool is great too. Manchester was streets ahead for shopping, but Liverpool is catching up. Transport in both cities is poor to be honest and needs massive investment, but much better than Leeds and Birmingham. Manchester is more dynamic and more tolerant. Manchester airport is without equal, so that is a pointless contest. Friendly people exist in both as do people who you would cross the street to avoid. So that is my view. I personally prefer Manchester, because it is more progressive, but Liverpool has been good to me too. It is horses for courses.

By Elephant

Where does one view this ‘skyline’ from? They only really apply where you’ve got a great waterside vista.

Its just a bunch of high-piled featureless concrete. As others have said, the urban realm at ground level will be key to making the city liveable for human beings.

By Rooney

Manchester should concede that Salford Quays has the best profile for a clutch of “skyscrapers” because it is on water! Every city in the world which has an iconic skyline is on water……. Sadly the River Irwell has never been central to Manchester’s city life. The regeneration of Salford Quays is magnificent with its avant guarde buildings + media city’s continued growth. Manchester should celebrate this.

By Anonymous

Leeds is the best though, best suburbs, best restaurants, best bars, best shopping, highest wages, highest house prices, lowest crime. Enough said.

By Martin

It just looks like a bunch of skyscrapers here and there, which doesn’t really make much of a skyline. It makes the city centre look like multiple centres. Perhaps in another decade or two the gaps will have been filled and then it would be worthwhile stating the skyline?

By Roe Digger

I think once you commit to having one or two skyscrapers in the city the cityscape is forever changed and you may as well then go for more. Albeit strategic planning the location of them is important (Mr Neville/MCC).

Some, if not all of the towers in Manchester leave a lot to the imagination, they are boring glass boxes. But at the same time they do represent investment, confidence and economic prosperity. They sort of help distinguish a big modern city to one which is more up and coming.

Although there is a question mark to who truly benefits from them I think they create an awful lot of jobs and investment for the local economy. Long may this continue as Manchester is a city most of the regional cities in the UK still look upon with jealous eyes.


Agree with NC. Once you commit to two or three,it is best to go for Manhattanisation ,otherwise you finish up with a skyline like Leeds,with one dumped in the middle of Victorian architecture.The most exciting part of the city centre to me, is going to be the area around the CIS.This is beginning to blossom and the Angel Meadows plans are stunning.More could be done with Great Ancoats street too.I can’t wait for Owen street.We need a Manc shard now,or something more imaginative.

By Elephant

Why this constant obsession with the skyline and height? Density is fair enough but look at cities like Barcelona and Berlin where they have achieved density almost without building skyscrapers. These mega buildings are symbols of privilege, power and money, not of the radical, democratic and egalitarian principles which the city used to be renowned for. What Manchester needs is more public space, communal space, green space and amenities.

By Ed Fox

Oxygen is not in the video? Ground has already broken on this development and yet it’s missed out in favour of towers that are still just notes in the planning department…

By Danny

Well said Ed Fox . Manchester has its priorities upside down, or at least the hordes of adolescent skyscraper geeks who obsess about skyscrapers do. Also what is “Axis”? What is “Oxygen”?

By Not a skyscraper geek

It’s all very rectangular but that doesn’t matter too much if somewhere down the line we get one (it only needs one) skyscraper that has a distinctive shape and has its head and shoulders above the rest in height that when you see it you know it’s Manchester’s skyline. Will we get that though or be left with box city?

By Daniel