North West

Manchester Town Hall receives a facelift

Manchester Town Hall and Central Library

A refurbishment project is underway in Manchester, carried out by Manchester City Council, to refurbish the city’s Town Hall and Central Library as well as re-landscaping key public areas within the centre.

The four year project will give the city an impressive facelift and is set for completion in 2014.

The complex programme has seen the refurbishment of the interiors of the iconic Central Library and Town Hall Extension. A feature glass and steel stairway and lift have been installed within the Central Library to operate from its basement to the top floor. In total 2,200m² of space that has been re-invigorated as part of the Library and Town Hall refurbishment project.

A completely new ground floor will create an exhibition and entertainment space; and a new underground connection between the two buildings will connect the Complex for the first time, extending the public lending library. The former Rates Hall and Gas and Electric Showrooms, key heritage spaces, will be converted into a customer service centre, cafe and multimedia library.

The connection of the two Grade II* listed buildings allows important heritage features to be protected whilst creating a more accessible, multi-functional public facility. The Council Chamber will be retained as a meeting room suite and measures to improve long-term energy efficiency and facilities management have been installed.

The installation of transparent glass facades will open up a set of airy, naturally lit, welcoming spaces; enabling a wide range of customer services to be accessed in a single visit delivering more for less to Manchester’s people and visitors

The project will also involve the re-landscaping of one the most important public spaces in the city; St Peter’s Square.

The design process involved close liaison with English Heritage to ensure the new design, and significant structural interventions, complemented the building’s original architecture. The temporary works and demolition phases were simulated prior to construction; this identified crucial workflows in great detail. 5D modelling was also being applied alongside the programme to provide an accurate bill of materials and greater cost certainty.

Main Contractor Laing O’Rourke used their Building Information Modelling team during the project, collaborating with Manchester City Council’s Facilities Management team. They used the 3D model as an intelligent tool for surveying and commissioning before the handover.

Manchester Town Hall and Central Library

When completed in 2014 the project will see the transformation of a historic landmark to provide its users and the community with a vibrant multi-functional customer service centre, exhibition/entertainment area, cafe and multimedia library. During the process the local economy has received a boost as the local supply chain and SMEs has been utilised. Up-skilling initiatives have been used as well, including the creation of 66 apprenticeships.

Ryder Architecture and Ian Simpson Architecture were the project partners. Ryder Architecture was founded in 1953 and has worked on a plethora of projects including the Radisson SAS, Premier Inn Glasgow, Bannatyne Health Spa, Hitachi Rail Europe, Glasgow Central Station and Gateshead BIG.

Ian Simpson Architects has offices in London and Manchester and was founded in 1987 by Rachel Haugh and Ian Simpson. They have worked on the redevelopment of the Battersea Power Station area in London, as well as with One Blackfriars new build hotel & residential tower in the capital. Other projects they have been involved in include Queen Elisabeth Hall in Antwerp, Belgium, Fellows Parlour in Trinity College and Esplanade commercial property in Jersey.

The Town Hall underwent its first extension and renovation in 1934 and 1938 to provide additional accommodation to local government. The building is in essence gothically styled with contemporary roof slopes and gables along with ornate carved tracery. Built in Manchester city centre it received Grade II designation in October 1974. The building is a mix of design styles linking the Gothic Revival of the original Town Hall building to the extension which was used to house the municipal departments for the city.

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