REVIEW | GM Building of the Year shortlist: Part two

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Building of the Year will be announced on 3 October. In this two-part series, Place North West reviews the final two of five projects in the running for the title.

Alliance Manchester Business School, Oxford Road

Alliance 1

Developed by Bruntwood, designed by BDP and Leach Rhodes Walker, built by Mace

It would have been difficult to avoid Oxford Road’s redevelopment in recent years, and the 345,500 sq ft Alliance Manchester Business School is one of its major facets.

What was originally a very dated, red brick building that served business students and architects alike, was revamped in an £85m investment to make it much more integrated into the University of Manchester.

The simplistic and modern building is open and light with spots of the UOM colours, purple and gold, throughout. Three cafés, two lecture theatres, a library, breakout rooms and clusters don’t fill the space, but make it a much cosier and more comfortable environment for students, teachers and researchers alike than what was there previous.

The scheme has also integrated retail and leisure units into the ground floor facing Oxford Road and adjacent park, including Mowgli, BrewDog and Blackwells.

Windmill Green

Windmill Green Exterior


Developed by Fore Partnership, designed by TP Bennett, interior design by Sheila Bird Group, built by Kier

The 78,000 sq ft office building is an aesthetically quirky and eccentric mix of Mancunian culture and heritage. The seven-storey building is BREEAM certified Outstanding, only the second building in Manchester to hold this now very attractive accolade.

Interior designer Atul Bansal said on the tour that the building should “not be filled with people who work, but be filled with people who do things.”

The site’s want to help develop a creative community feel is bolstered by the open plan areas on every floor, including a dedicated coworking space on the ground floor. The living wall and collection of Swifty Scooters, that are available to book for the tenants, also help to cultivate a playful and modern working environment.

The building comes complete with a 360-degree roof terrace overlooking Manchester Central Library, The Midland Hotel, Manchester Central, and Great Northern warehouse. It’s also home to Manchester’s favourite working animal; the bee. Windmill Green keep two beehives on the roof, so if you’re allergic, it’s probably best you stay behind the fence.

The winner will be announced at the Chamber’s Property & Construction Annual Dinner on the 3 October. Last year’s winner was The Christie’s Proton Beam Therapy Centre.

Your Comments

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Oldham Town Hall’s transformation is very special.This shows the importance of proper transport links.This would not have happened without Metrolink.

By Elephant

Windmill Green hands down. This should be a benchmark for all new development in Manchester: It really is fantastic.

By Acelius

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