Breathing New Life into a Redundant Site – by Simon Critchley, SimpsonHaugh, architect for Manchester New Square

The impending development of any city centre site is always an exciting milestone for any architect or designer. In the case of Manchester New Square more so than most. Sitting redundant for over a decade, this prime piece of urban real estate is now ready to receive the high quality development the neighbourhood deserves. No more tired hoardings and concrete remains; Manchester New Square breathes new life into the heart of the city’s most cosmopolitan district.

With a new public space at the heart of Manchester New Square, pedestrian routes that were prevalent throughout the site’s Victorian heyday will reopen, creating a new address and destination within the city. The buzz from new restaurants and shops will activate this new place, populating the green public space at the core of the development, alongside the thoroughfares of Princess St, Whitworth St and Rochdale canal.

This new destination is carved from the robust and sculpted geometry of three new residential buildings that bound the site: Linter, Calico and Carding. The form and scale of each building carefully responds to its immediate site context. Each building is designed with its own individual character, with subtly different yet high quality finishes to common areas, and the individual treatment of brick finishes to each building’s facade. The cohesive sense of the scheme as a whole is reinforced through the language of large scale brick grids, imbued with a sense of depth and articulation, characteristics of the Conservation Area in which the development sits. The inherent weight and solidity of the brick façade, combined with full height acoustic windows, forms an effective barrier and creates a peaceful retreat from busy city life.

A wide range of different one, two and three bedroom apartments are finished to a standard befitting modern urban living, with designer kitchens and bathrooms the hallmark of quality from which everything else transcends. The development offers large and well naturally lit apartment layouts, including ensuite master bedrooms and many with dual aspect living spaces.

Built to last the pressures of both time and trend, Manchester New Square offers an opportunity to carve a peaceful home within the vibrancy of everything Manchester has to offer.

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