Treasure hunt uncovers Manchester’s hidden gems

A treasure hunt was held on Tuesday evening aimed at raising awareness of Manchester city centre's architectural history and legacy for the future.

Organised by independent architects Lisa Raynes and Jane Leach, the event was part of the RIBA North West Solo Practitioners Group's contribution to this year's Architecture Festival.

Teams raced against the clock to uncover Manchester's hidden gems, following a series of cryptic clues, whilst gaining a better understanding of some of the city's iconic and best-loved buildings.

Lisa Raynes, from Raynes Architecture, said: "I was overwhelmed by the response; we had 14 teams participating, on foot the teams uncovered architectural gems, the Calatrava bridge crossing the Irwell, the Bridgewater Hall, the Royal Exchange Theatre. I thank all the members of the SPG who helped on the night and provided liquid surprises on route."

Jane Leach, principal chartered architect of i-architect, said: "I was impressed by how well the teams did to solve the cryptic clues, with one or two teams gaining full marks, whilst others came up with some imaginative alternative solutions, which gained them bonus points. The scavenger hunt added an extra fun element to the event. There was some serious competition to win the overall prize, the design classic Alessi corkscrew."

The winner of the Alessi corkscrew, donated by Bladons of Hale, was team one from architects BDP, which collated the most points.

Other prizes were awarded on the evening including the winner with "the most scavenger hunt items", which was presented to the team titled SK Transport Buccaneers.

Paul Unger, editor of Place North West, participated in the fun, joining public relations firm Bell Pottinger North, and his team, Ere We Go Jones, was winner of a human resources consultancy assessment courtesy of Ubuntu HR.

Framed photographs by Manchester-based photographer Damien Maguire were awarded to a team made up of representatives from planning advisor DPP, law firm DWF, and Whale Marketing, calling themselves Kevin, which were the first team to arrive back.

Other awards included a sketch of John Rylands Library, presented to the Mixed Bag team, while members of networking group BNI Flagship Chapter won a plate of cupcakes for coming up with the best team name, Jammy Dodgers.

A second team from architect practice BDP was not so fortunate, collecting a packet of tic tacs for their efforts in gaining the least amount of points.

Martin Percox, chairman of the RIBA North West Solo Practitioners Group, added: "It's great for the SPG to be part of the Architecture Festival 2011; this group comprises architectural private practice solo principals from across the North West region and provides members with mutual support, emergency cover and continuing professional development. The practices of its members are small to medium size with a diverse range of experience and specialism to offer clients."

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