Sunday, 13 December 2009

Rossant Award 2009 Winner Announced

Congratulations to Abhi Chauhan who was awarded top honours in the 2009 Rossant Award sponsored by BDP. Awarded to students for work completed during their second year of study at Manchester School of Architecture, the Rossant Award was originally established to commend draftsmanship but has since evolved to praise all forms of visual communication.

From an original longlist of 12 students a shortlist of 12 were invited to give a short presentation of their work at BDP’s offices on Friday 11th December. Abhi was the first of the shortlisted students to present and gave an insightful presentation into how he had crafted a series of images for both of his second year studio projects from a variety of media, emphasising the use of model-making and photomontage in particular. In addition to the prestigious Rossant Award trophy Abhi is to receive a £500 cash prize.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Manchester's Boom

"Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry" Buttress Fuller Alsop William Copyright

This week has seen an extraordinary amount of new building details emerge throughout the city of Manchester. From the previously reported Gateway House Competition to Sheppard Robson's new MMU Hulme Campus design. Also is the news that Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams' design for Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry, which had previously been designed by Manchester School of Architecture's very own former head of school David Dernie, however the £58million project lost funding and as a result the design was scrapped.

"Tameside College" Aedas Copyright

Aedas this week submitted plans for a new Building for Tameside College in Ashton-under-Lyne, the design provides the college with 2,800sqm of space and is hoped to become a vibrant educational facility.
Bennett Architects Copyright

Two master plans were also revealed this week. Bennett's released images depicting their plans for a new Civil Servant district, next to Picadilly Station. It's purpose enforces the vastly growing presence of Manchester as a Capital of the North, and the beginning of it's London like expansion, which includes Salford's Media City and the growing city centre.

"MMU Community Campus" Sheppard Robson Copyright

The second master plan is Sheppard Robson's MMU Community Campus within the heart of Hulme. Student Accommodation and a major public space will be included, and the design hopes to create a new vibrant area out of the somewhat disheartened Hulme area.

Hodder + Partners Copyright

Stephen Reinke Copyright

The final piece of news regards the illustrious Gateway House that sits right outside Picadilly Station, earlier this year we reported of a competition for a redesign of the building. A shortlist has now appeared, and the two final Architects in the running are Stephen Reinke Architects and Hodder + Partners. Reinke have chosen to be fairly brutal with the existing unlisted building, their proposal would strip back a hefty amount of the original building for it's design, however Hodder's design is slightly more gracious to Gateway House, their design adds a new look facade, whilst keeping the building's flowing form.

All of this news helps to promote the expansion of Manchester as a truly modern city, and a leader in the growth of the United Kingdom.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Las Vegas Comes To Manchester

Manchester in Las Vegas

According to some sources Manchester may soon be home to an enormous Leisure centre that would rival the extravagance of Las Vegas. It would be built in the immediate context of the Manchester City Football Stadium, by none other than Manchester City Football Clubs billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour. Included in the plan, said to be designed by BDP, will be luxurious Hotels, a Theme Park, and not forgetting a Casino.

The idea appears to be somewhat ridiculous for a British city, and seems more suited for the United Arab Emirates or USA, not in an area most famous for it's Victorian Industry. However one only has to look back 2 years to the proposed "Super Casino", that was eventually sacked by the government, to see that this rumour may indeed be true, and with the backing of a mutli-billionaire who has already spent well over £100million on new football players, that building up the area around the stadium is such a large leap of faith in the owner's eyes.
Ancoats Emptiness
The news is fairly disheartening, does Manchester want to become an Americanised city, is it right for one football club owner to spread his influence outside of the grounds and into the local community? Perhaps it will create a solution for the sparse state that Ancoats currently resides in, or will it sit on the landscape as an empty shed, unused and unloved.

All images Copyright of Jack Penford Baker

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Goodbye Urbis?

Urbis is one of Manchester's modern landmarks, the Ian Simpson designed building being seen as many as starting the new 'tradition' of wedge-shaped structures in the city. Recently Urbis has been in the headlines over controversial plans to relocate the National Football Museum from Preston to Manchester and on November 18th the decision was taken to move the museum.

Originally opened in 2002, Urbis has a unique programme of temporary exhibitions that focus on popular culture and the culture of the modern city, essentially it is a place to showcase city life through art, music, photography, fashion and other creative industries that Manchester has become famous for. The National Football Museum could not be more different, a permanent showcase of the 'national game'. The museum already has roots in Manchester as it was designed by local practice OMI architects (opening in 2001).

There have been mixed reactions to news that the museum is to move with Preston councillor Ken Hudson reported to have said that the museum's trustees had "stuck two fingers up" at Preston by agreeing to the move. Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said that the relocation could help make the museum an "internationally important destination" and attract up to 400,000 visitors a year. The move won't come cheap though with costs expected to reach £8million to relocate the exhibition contents and refurbish Urbis.

Speaking to Chanel M the Chief Executive of Urbis, Vaughn Allen, hinted that the National Football Museum would provide a "long term sustainable future" for Urbis, calling it an "interesting an challenging building" to run in its current guise. He explained that Urbis would close in February/early Spring 2010 and would hopefully open again as the National Football Museum in 201. But what happens to the exhibitions that currently call Urbis home?

As of yet there are no solid plans to find new homes for the 'creative industries' that could be found at Urbis, although preliminary discussions are said to be taking place - there are very few alternatives at present that engage the public with this type of attraction in Manchester. Yes Manchester has a proud ‘footballing’ tradition but it has a resonance with creative industries that could be lost or forced back under ground with out a public face.

The debate will more than likely rumble on right on up to the new museum's opening and beyond so for the final word for now we turn to Phil O’Dwyer, director of OMI Architects, a born and bred 'Manc' who had this to say to the Architect's Journal (before last week’s decision):

"The Urbis building is a great landmark and has contributed to Manchester’s evolving identity. I suspect it is flexible enough to absorb the Football Museum, like it could absorb many other exhibitions with varying degrees of success. But would it engage with this subject to the same extent? Would it have the ingredients that make the difference between a place that has spirit and one that feels soulless and detached from the people that use it? I have my doubts, but that would be the challenge."

Ian Simpson Chosen For Refurbishment of Town Hall Extension

Manchester's trademark Architect, Ian Simpson, has been named as the chosen architect for a £165 million refurbishment of the Town Hall Extension, designed by E. Vincent Harris in the 1930's. Harris's neighbouring Central Library is also to be revamped, except not by Simpson, but Ryder Architects. The two schemes are also running along side a competition, to be launched in January, for a redesign of St Peters Square and the recently revealed design for 1 Peter Square. Due to be completed within 4 years, the massive redevelopment will see St Peter's Square become a much more attractive public space.

Perhaps one of the most interesting projects within Manchester is the refurbishing of the Town Hall Extension by Ian Simpson. Well known his modern glass facaded buildings, a refurbishment will see the practice take a completely different approach to not just designing but architecture as a whole. How they express themselves within an already monumental building will be intriguing, however they may take a encompassing approach and simply improve the existing building with no added flare.

Monday, 23 November 2009


A building’s life finishes with the final node, demolition. Sometimes it’s required out of necessity, other times it’s own design can be the defining factor. Except now our relationship towards construction and building has shifted, no longer can opinion determine a building's outcome, the worlds fascination with Carbon emissions has resulted in what perhaps may be a flawed system.

The attraction of constructing new “green” buildings in replace of old “inefficient” ones appears so fruitful as they are carbon neutral, a term that portrays a false vision. Carbon neutral buildings only offset the carbon they produce at the present time and during construction, however what about neighboring buildings that may not be as efficient, or what about the past 500 years of carbon emissions. Buildings don’t need to be “Carbon Neutral”, they need to be “Negative Carbon”.

As it stands by 2019 all new buildings have to be Carbon Neutral, except what about existing buildings? Surely our approach to the Carbon problem is somewhat selfish, only thinking about sole dwellings. Countries should perhaps devise new strategies that offset villages, or even cities, doing so would require less construction over the whole city. If one tower offsets a city, then the need for new builds can diminish, and in it’s place “Adaption”.

Adapting existing architecture forces a building to evolve to the current standards, vast amount of facades systems exist all over the world that can simply latch on to the external skins of buildings, reducing carbon emissions and providing new properties to the users that reside inside the structure. Algae is becoming ever so popular in modern architectural technology, and the systems currently devised can easily fuse with old buildings.

As it stands in Manchester 2 major demolitions are currently underway, the Refectory within the University of Manchester Campus, and St Mary’s Hospital. These two builds from the 2nd half of the 20th Century are the result of new builds replacing them. What is most interesting is the simplicity of their designs, especially the large tower attached to the Refectory. If one was to merely gut the building it could quite easily be developed into a much more Carbon Efficient building without the need for demolition and then reconstructing.

Schemes already exist of renovating buildings form the early 1900’s, but why can’t schemes appear to save much newer buildings, much like in Sheffield with Park Hill. Maybe then we can begin to see the importance and impact that existing buildings have on our countries carbon emissions.

Images Copyright of Jack Penford Baker

Sunday, 22 November 2009

MSA Students Scoop International Award

A team of students from the [Re_Map] BArch Studio Unit at the Manchester School of Architecture have been named jointed winners in a major international architectural - WPA 2.0 'Whoever Rules the Sewers Rules the City' run by cityLAB at UCLA. There were over 300 proposals - half from professional teams, half from student teams - was tasked with 'envisioning a new legacy of publicly-supported infrastructure hybrids.' Titled 'R_Ignite: socio-economic catalyst for ailing post-industrial port towns' the joint-winners team comprises Peter Millar, Jamie Potter, Stuart Wheeler and Andy Wilde. They proposed the recycling and reuse of industrial infrastructure intertwined with social programmes to act as a catalyst for public involvement; incorporating ecology, energy production, skills, education and leisure.

The team was initially selected for a shortlist of seven finalists and travelled to Washington D.C. to attend a high-profile symposium featuring the competition jury panel which included Stan Allen, Cecil Balmond, Elizabeth Diller and Thom Mayne, as well as having their proposals exhibited at the National Building Museum. The symposium was held in the Great Hall of the National Building Museum with a keynote address from Adolfo Carrion, White House Director of Urban Affairs.

Image Credit: Peter Millar, Jamie Potter, Stuart Wheeler and Andy Wilde (6th Year, MSA) and WPA 2.0 (Facebook Feed)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

‘New’ Old Trafford Cricket Ground Goes For Planning

BDP's Manchester office before a winner is announced. BDP's Manchester office have submitted a planning application to redevelop the Old Trafford Cricket Ground to the local council. The proposal is a £32million second phase scheme that will raise ground capacity to 25,000 and add new media facilities. It is hoped that this phase of development will be completed by Autumn 2012 so that Old Trafford can apply to hold on the Ashes matches the following year (it missed out on this years series with Cardiff preferred by officials from the England and Wales Cricket Board).

The first phase of the redevelopment has already started with the local MP Andy Burnham taking part in the official turf cutting on September 13th. With a construction cost of approximately £12million 'The Point' is principally a multi-purpose function space with a capacity for 1,000 people as any thing from a conference facility to a formal dinner. The name of the venue was partly inspired by BDP's designs as explained by Chief Executive Jim Cumbes “Many names were suggested, some conference led and some cricketing terminology and many hours were spent deliberating over a fitting name that ticks all the boxes. ‘The Point’ was chosen as it encompassed a number of relevant factors: a subtle cricket term; the design of the venue; and a destination." Once complete a glass facade will provide views over the cricket ground whilst moveable partitions will allow the space to be divided into smaller venues.

According to the Lancashire County Cricket Club the new designs will feature a number of 'green' initiatives including rainwater harvesting, low voltage lighting, ground source heat pumps and solar panels. The scheme is supported by the North West Regional Development Agency.

Image Credit: BDP

Rossant Award 2009

The winner of the BDP Rossant Award will be presented on Friday 11th December at 6pm. This prestigious Award was initiated in 1977 to commemorate the late Lorrie Rossant who was an architect partner at BDP in Manchester; it is open to second year students from the School of Architecture in Manchester. The award celebrates the best visual communication techniques, including draughtsmanship and electronic representation. The judging panel comprises the President of the Manchester Society of Architects and the MSA Award Secretaries as well as selected individuals from BDP. Six shortlisted candidates will give a presentation at BDP's Manchester office before a winner is announced. Last year's prize was won by Simon Bellamy.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Manchester Society of Architect's Dinner 2009

The great and the good of Manchester’s architectural scene were gathered at the Hilton Hotel on Friday night (November 6th) for the annual Manchester Society of Architect’s Dinner. Held at the Ian Simpson-designed Hilton, on Deansgate, for the third year in a row, the evening saw 300 architects put behind them the gloom of the recession to enjoy an evening of fine food and live music, not to mention the chance to catch up with old acquaintances.

The host for the evening, current President of the MSA, Simon Green gave a speech in which he highlighted the numerous successes of Manchester’s practices including the recipients of the MSA Design Awards in April 2009 (with the winning entries shown on a big screen during the meal) and touched upon other reasons for architects in Manchester to celebrate, including the inaugural Manchester Architecture and Design Festival. Arguably the main event of the evening was a speech from RIBA President Ruth Reed, the official ‘response on behalf of the guests’. The first woman President in the 175-year history of the RIBA, Ruth Reed gave a speech that was on the whole light-hearted, commending the resilience of northern architects and how Manchester was an example of how to ‘regenerate’ a city although she did briefly touch upon on the ‘banned topic of the night’, the recession.

After dinner and the speeches had concluded the evenings live entertainment, ‘The Coolers’, got underway with even Simon Green and his illustrious guests (including Ruth Reed and Colin Pugh, Acting Head of the Manchester School of Architecture) taking to the dance floor.

On the whole the evening appeared to be enjoyed by all, a perfect balance of a formal occasion, to match the long and proud history of the MSA, mixed with the informality desired by hard-working professionals wanting to celebrate and not stand on ceremony.

The MSA Dinner 2009 was kindly sponsored by Ceram Excel.

Whitworth Art Gallery Competition Winner Announced

A winner has been announced for the competition to design an extension to the University of Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery - MUMA. Originally the competition had attracted over 130 entries from a number of internationally acclaimed practices. MUMA (McInnes, Usher, McKnight Architects) have been selected for the £12million extension with plans being worked up during the early part of 2010 to form part of Whitworth’s Heritage Lottery Fund bid.

Chancellor of the University of Manchester Tom Bloxham (or Urban Splash fame) chaired the judging panel and whilst calling all of the shortlisted designs “outstanding” said that “MUMA’s design shone in its thoughtful and sensitive response to a complex brief.” He went on to say that “Amongst many delightful touches the prospect of visiting a cafe in the tree canopy was particularly enjoyed, along with many further connections between gallery and surrounding park landscape. MUMA demonstrated care not only in the development of new designs but also in their consideration of improvements to the existing building.”

MUMA’s proposal includes an art garden, second entrance, a new informal café, a landscape gallery and a study area that will allow visitors and researchers to get closer to the collections when they are not on public display.

The practices most recent work includes working on a £30 million overhaul of the Renaissance and Medieval gallerys of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Read More at BDOnline and the Architects Journal.

Image credit: Architects Journal + MUMA.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

In Review | Isolative Urbanism: An Ecology of Control

Isolative Urbanism is a collection of essays from tutors and students of the BArch [Re_Map] Unit at Manchester School of Architecture. The unit, as its name may suggest, concerns itself with the mapping of the contemporary city, through analysing existing data, networks and how space is demarcated. Each of the essays presented deals with the resulting relationship between existing “urban conditions and space, public and private.” Within this framework the editors, Richard Brook and Nick Dunn, have seen fit to divide the essays into three categories: Policy, Utopia and Globalisation.

The introductory text, written by Brook and Dunn, aims to set the scene for the proceeding essays with a series of short sections that take the reader from the “notion of fragmentation” between art and architecture in the 1920s and 1930s through to Venturi’s description of the “decorated shed” and on to Paul Virilio’s musings on modern warfare. From this starting point it is clear that the following essays will deal with a myriad of challenging and complex issues. Each text is further contextualised by the placing of these theoretical studies within a setting, Barrow-in-Furness, the second largest town in Cumbria and a place referred to as a ‘30-mile cul-de-sac.’

Each essay provides the backdrop to an architectural solution that in most cases seeks to re-imagine or renew Barrow-in-Furness but without using the expected or clichéd methods that have become the norm in UK (and global) architectural policy for urban environments. These fresh perspectives often challenge the convention of established systems that have been backed by traditional capitalist ideologies and range from Grant Erskine’s proposal to remove all automobile-based transport from the town (with a 25,000 space car-park on the town’s periphery) to Ben Paterson’s plans to transform Barrow-in-Furness into a leading world port town.

At first glance these proposals may appear whimsical and far fetched but on reading the essay’s the argument behind each becomes clear and lends to them a certain credibility, a credibility strengthened by the depth of research. The essays do not go on to describe in depth the proposals, that is left to a double-page spread of greyscale images that tease at the possibilities presented but perhaps ultimately leave you wanting more. Nevertheless the rationale behind each provides a springboard for further debate on how the UK can be re-imagined in the 21C after a decade which has seen the rapid technological growth of the late 20C continue. The architectural world has been slow to catch up with the rapid changes in the structure of 'modern' society. What makes this brand of innovation proposed by the [Re-map] students so original is that they are neither dreams of an apocalyptic future nor are they unbuildable utopias, instead they sit in the playful realm of 'that's buildable' - if only we are brave enough to do so.

Seven shortlisted in Gateway House Competition

Seven practices have been shortlisted in an ideas competition to re-envisage the Richard Seifert designed Gateway House on Station Approach next to Piccadilly Station. Seifert, the British architect behind Centre Point and Tower 42, designed Gateway house in 1965 and it is estimated that up to 21million passenger pass the 6-storey 'lazy-S' builidng each year. The seven shortlisted practices are Hodder & Partners, former Woods Bagot boss Stephan Reinke, Stephenson Bell, Sheppard Robson, Aedas, Calederpeel and BDP.

Realty Estates, the land owners, have not specified that the proposals must keep the building, a move which has dismayed local campaigners who want to protect Manchester's 1960s heritage. The cost of the works could range from as little as £5million up to £100million. A winner is expected to be announced by the end of the month.

Image credit: JonWild on FlickR

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Corridor Vs The Maze

The Leech:

Manchester has inflicted a great tragedy upon it’s self in the last 50 years. Like all universities their student community has metamorphosed into a seasonal leech that instantly embodies a vast area of the city for 9 months before dispersing into a much sparser area for hibernation. The “Leech” substantially fluctuates the city’s population, however they do not appear to be affiliated to the city, they are a separate entity that follows it’s own rules and style of life. Except the “Leech” is a necessity, without it Manchester wouldn’t be able to support itself, as much as it’s unusual behavior and profound lack of awareness of the neighboring communities disrupt the social make up, it is an investment, that will eventually be dissolved by the city and become apart of the machine.

The student community of Manchester that sprawls across the corridor of Oxford Road neglects the permanent communities that make up the rest of Manchester and as as a result live an isolated life that could benefit greatly by becoming a key component in the wider context. However I do not believe that it is the individual students persona that causes the fragmentation, in fact this vast social divide has nothing to do with the social landscape, instead it is down to the simple geographical location of the University.

The Corridor:

Campus based Universities isolate themselves within a specific boundary, these work in outskirts of cities, but when a city adopts a university campus within it’s heart the student community is forced to accommodate the nearest residential zones and stay as close to where they study ignoring it’s surroundings. In the case of Manchester’s Oxford Road everything needed to live can be found on this one “Corridor”, stretched from Fallowfield directly in to the City Centre, which immediately causes the social separation of the communities. If one has everything in one place, why would one purposefully travel further to get what is already so close? Manchester is not the only case, Leeds for examples harbors the same problem along it’s Otley Road, although it appears to be a few years behind Manchester in terms of it’s severity.

The Maze:

The “Corridor” problem isn’t destroying Manchester, on the contrary, it harmless resides in it’s place, but a city is a single entity and in order for it to develop and improve the issues of the student community have to be dealt with. The occupation of the “Corridor” needs to disperse and fan out in order to be absorbed by the surrounding communities except the promise of a better city isn’t enough incentive for such a vast group of people. My solution, although abstract in form, does address the issues raised if Oxford Road was eliminated from Manchester and in it’s place lay a vast maze of roads that forced you to explore other areas of Manchester, perhaps then Manchester could evolve as an individual city.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Isolative Urbanism: an Ecology of Control

A new book has been published by two lecturers at the Manchester School of Architecture, Richard Brook and Nick Dunn. Entitled Isolative Urbanism: an Ecology of Control, the book is a collection of essays primarily dealing with issues surrounding the control of space, both public and private, with a myriad of other issues and topics explored within them. The essays have all been written by members of the Re_Map BArch Studio unit at MSA.

Forestry Commission Exhibits Student Work

Seven designs from the Second Year of Manchester School of Architecture (2008-09) have been selected for an exhibition by the Forestry Commission in the North West. Held at The Yan in Cumbria the exhibition highlights work undertaken by students in designing schemes for Grizedale Forest. As part of their research for the project students undertook site visits to Grizedale where they attended workshops in traditional methods of construction, including dry-stone walling and timber work, as well as exploring the Commission's public art programme and forest management processes. The exhibition will run until 30th of October 2009, it is free of charge but viewing is by appointment only.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

3DReid’s New Co-Operative Headquarters

The Co-Operative Group seems to have ridden the recession without falls, last year it successfully acquired Somerfield and has now published and successfully received planning permission for a new head office in the heart of Manchester, right in the shadows of the prominent CIS Tower.

Co-Operative Group started in Manchester 150 years ago, and now stand as a leading company in the UK the design’s purpose is to house the additional administrative side acquired from the Somerfield deal, however 3DReid’s unusual form conveys a more subtle motive. The unusual plan shape, the inefficient curved edges, the vast loss of office space in return for a huge atrium. They are all there to promote the CO-Operative Groups ethos, so has the architectural equation changed in a modern environment, is it now function follows form follows advertisement, perhaps that is all we get from a capitalist society.

However 3DReid has created a somewhat refreshing office block that diverts from the typical glass cladded box. It looks at sustainability on a larger level and worker friendly environments, parking is limited as the local transport services are the advised use of travel, a vast atrium inside creates an open environment for it’s workers and leads the path for a new style of offices that are less enclosed, and more open.

As planning permission has been awarded, construction is due to take place at the start of 2010, with completion and opening set for sometime in 2012.

Images and video property of 3DReid

Manchester Modern: Planning Policy and the shape of the city.

Last night (Tuesday 8th October 2009) Richard Brook, senior lecturer at the Manchester School of Architecture, kicked off the Manchester Student Society of Architecture Lecture Series for the 2009/10 season. In association with the 20th Century Society (highlighting architecture of the 20th century and seeking to preserve it) students, lecturers, architects and members of the public were entertained with a history of how planning policy has shaped the modern day city.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Designs Revealed for the Whitworth Art Gallery

The five shortlisted designs for the RIBA competition of the extension to the Whitworth Art Gallery, a Grade -II listed building have been revealed.

The five shortlisted practices are:

Amanda Levete Architects
Edward Cullinan Architects
Haworth Tompkins
Stanton Williams

Amanda Levete Architects' proposal

Edward Cullinan Architects' proposal

Haworth Tompkins' proposal

MUMA's proposal

Stanton and Williams' proposal

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The President's Medals Student Awards 2009

The nominations for this year’s President’s Medals Student Award have been announced, included are 5 students from Manchester School of Architecture, Luke Butcher + Jack O’Rielly from Part 1,and Rebecca Stephens + Matthew Ault + Nick Walkley from Part 2.

The President’s Medals Student Awards is an internationally acclaimed award of which RIBA accredited institutes can enter. It’s main purpose is to serve as a platform to promote the vibrant work currently erupting from the student community, but it also is there to help elevate the individuals whose work is at the forefront of architecture.

The winners, announced on the 2nd of December, will be invited to the award ceremony, of which previous guest speakers have been Lord Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, and their work will be published in a supplement included with the critically acclaimed Architect’s Journal. There are various prizes ranging from £250 worth of books to a £1250 Travelling Fellowship from SOM Foundation, however the most significant reward is the acknowledgment by the industry of whom they will soon become apart of. l. Therefore a mere nomination could extrude into substantial exposure.

Manchester School of Architecture have received commendations before, but an award has always deceived them.Perhaps this year may favour them but the outcome of the awards are a distant enigma, however the quality and innovation of MSA’s nominations are unquestionably evident and show true promise in a competitive arena.

Jack O'Rielly's URBAN F.@.M.I.N

Jack O’Rielly’s URBAN F.@.M.I.N (Urban Farming and Media Interactive Networks) is a detailed solution to promoting sustainability in an urban built environment. The proposal consists of a process starting with the production of crops in the heart of manchester, which is then sold to local restaurants, of whom promote the urban farm and the process repeats itself. An addition of a TV studio, integrated with in the build, creates programmes that aim to promote sustainability. Jack’s diverse concept fused with his exceptional drawing skills creates a vibrant project.

Luke Butcher's Home Truths

Luke Butcher’s Home Truths is a two part look into a new residential development in East Manchester. Luke focuses on a solution for problems that are currently residing in social state of the urban built environment. The result is a development that is built not for the present but the future; “... A sophisticated and socially inclusive range of mixed dwellings that challenges the perception of affordable housing.” It successfully creates concepts that are harbored in reality, and it’s maturity shows true ambition.

Rebecca Stephens

As part of the Displace Non-Place BARCh Unit Rebecca Stephens has created a beautiful design for an addition to the town of Chiavari on the Italian Riviera. Her work is deeply rooted in the heart of town’s history. The concept looks at promoting healthy living to the local teenagers. The design illusively perches in it’s context, with the upmost respect for the surrounding buildings. The design chooses to impose as little as possible visually, but it’s details show much appreciation to the history of the area.

Matthew Ault

Matthew Ault’s project comes from a brief that “required the intergration of architecture and performance as well as context, with careful treatment of a relationship to a body of water.” His design beautifully fuses a precise technical design with the freedom of performance and deserves commendation.

Nick Walkley’s dissertation explores the idea of ornament and how it has seen a revival in the early years of the 21st century, noticeably due to the addition of the computer in the world of design. He explores the effect it is having on design cultures. However what is most exceptional about his work is how he has managed to transcend his dissertation into reality with the design and production of a gothic concert hall for his thesis project.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

MMU Business School

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is the architectural firm leading the development of a new Business School for the Manchester Metropolitan University. The school is projected to cost £ 54,000,000 and is due to be completed September 2011.

The 20,000 sq metre building will host a new faculty as well as facilities for 5,000 students and 250 staff including student services, catering, learning zones and IT drop-in spaces.

This vibrant and environmentally friendly scheme contains two cool and calm atria for social activities; both spaces contain bridges and balconies connecting buzzing human traffic across the building.

As part of an ongoing University project to develop low energy buildings, the school will be incorporating energy saving tactics such as thermal massing, natural day lighting, controlled ventilation, some energy generation features and ground coupled cooling.

Images courtesy of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Sunday, 27 September 2009

One St Peter's Square

The first images for a new building on St Peter's Square were revealed this week (Architect's Journal Online 23.09.09). The redevelopment of Elisabeth House, opposite Manchester Central Library, was won by Glenn Howells Architects in a competition last year (FLACQ, Stanton Williams and Austin:Smith-Lord being the other front runners). Due to be submitted before Christmas the 25,000 sq m scheme will be predominately commercial with a mix of other uses including a gallery at street level.

Glenn Howells said of the scheme "We want to create an elegant building, with a long life and that will not look like it was built in 2012. We want to make it look effortless. We also thought it was inappropriate for it to be louder than the other buildings around it."

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Architectural Flamboyance #3

Samuel Alexander Building External Stairs, University of Manchester Campus

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Architectural Flamboyance #2

Wing Yip - Chinese and Oriental Groceries, Oldham Road

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Architectural Flamboyance #1

The Roof to the Catholic Chaplaincy Building of The University Of Manchester, Oxford Road.

Architectural Flamboyance will be a weekly update looking at elements of Manchester’s buildings where the architect has been allowed to indulge in a little bit of self expression. It won’t include major architects, it won’t necessarily be about modern buildings, but it will show that the everyday architect can still, and has always been able to, create fresh designs even though the client’s small quantity of money tries to prevents them. No article will accompany the image of the element, it will speak for itself, any knowledge about it will be conveyed, however the buildings on show may have no data regarding them. But perhaps the acknowledgement in these updates will conjure up new data, or just give them the appreciation they require.