The site sits on a mix of office and industrial buildings as well as a former bakery and tennis club. The existing building on Skerton Road is a low-rise building which has been extended vertically, creating a different language at the top. This is something we have tried to translate in our proposal through breaking the vertical massing with steps and changes in materiality.
Although there are 5 separate blocks as part of the scheme, it is the intention that all the elements will have their own identity but read as a collective. The architectural language of the elevations will create a dialogue between the varying heights, using similar colours at the base and top of the design to define the changes in massing. Whereas, a stronger secondary block colour will be used in the body of the facade, reiterating the strong ‘red brick’ heritage of the area.
Exploring ideas for materials we wanted to put together a robust and complimentary mix of colours and textures to use throughout the development. The red bricks used in the industrial warehouses and highlighted glazed brick details has become a staple of the historic culture of Manchester’s fabric industry. We have chosen materials which reflect the historic elements of the site whilst bringing about a contemporary and more contextual variation of the current urban grain.
A major concept within the design was to create a new neighbourhood and streets for people to access their own houses. In order to achieve a sense of ownership, we wanted to embed townhouses in the base of the design, helping to also create a mix of tenure in the scheme.
It was also our intention to reinstate this idea of the tennis club back into the site and introduce the ‘New Lawn Club’, creating a multi-functional space which can be used by the residents as a place to meet and gather the same way people would have congregated at the Lawn Tennis club in the 1870’s. The clubhouse will provide an ancillary space extra to the apartments, promoting the idea of being active and healthy as well as providing an extra place to socialise.
When designing the frontage of the Clubhouse we wanted it to be clearly identified as a separate function to the residential apartments. A pavilion typology that relates back to the site’s history. Looking at the strong graphical lines and form of a tennis ball we reinterpreted this to be represented in the frontage to the pavilion. The circular form is translated over a number of layers, the top curve forming the outline for the covered walkway and the lower curve being part of the feature manifestation to the setback glazing. The two only align when the elevation is viewed head on.