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19th Floor Restaurant Planned For Manchester

Jonathan Schofield writes an elegy for Modernism as new design seeks planning permission

Published on January 21st 2014.


19th Floor Restaurant Planned For Manchester
 

PROPERTY developers Allied London have submitted plans for the final phase of their Spinningfields masterplan with the redevelopment of Quay House to become No 1 Spinningfields, a nineteen-storey office building including a skyline restaurant.

“No 1 Spinningfields will be the district’s most imposing building to date and one of Manchester’s most stand-out office buildings."

The new tower, designed by Ian Simpson Architects, will provide 343,000 gross sq ft of office space and connect Quay Street to Hardman Square with a pedestrianized route running through the middle of the ground floor.

Ground floor units will be made available to food, drink and retail outlets.

A decision on planning is expected on 10 April 2014.

Quay House as it is now

Quay House as it is now

Michael Ingall, CEO of Allied London said: “No 1 Spinningfields will be the district’s most imposing building to date and one of Manchester’s most stand-out office buildings. Our last significant building, 3 Hardman Square, won several awards for its design and specification and we expect this building to take the mantle of the best regional office building in the UK.

“The 19th floor restaurant will have a glass-enclosed roof terrace giving patrons unparalleled views of Greater Manchester. In line with our vision for Spinningfields, we aim to secure an operator of the highest calibre to provide a fine dining and mixology experience worthy of such a grand vantage point location.” 

High it climbs - impressively too

High it climbs - impressively too

John Cooper, director at Deloitte Real Estate, the consultancy that compiled and submitted the application, said: “The proposals represent the final piece of the original Spinningfields Masterplan - completing the development with a stunning landmark building.  

“A key consideration in the evolution of the design has been the desire to enhance the environment within Hardman Square. The new building will provide a dramatic enclosure to the Square and its form and orientation has been evolved to ensure that direct sunlight is retained within the square at key times of the day including lunch times and evenings.”

No1 Spinningfields MapMap with No 1 Spinningfields highlighted

The application comes as Allied London have just been granted the all clear for The Cotton Building, a new ten-floor multi-use development for Spinningfields on the patch of grass opposite RBS.

The developer also continues to work on the redevelopment of ITV’s old thirteen-acre Granada site, an area of the city that Allied London hope will become a ‘new living quarter’ for the city, with vast vacant buildings, studios and warehouses up for grabs.

Ingall has stated that 'The Lawns' in Spinningfields, originally earmarked for development, will remain largely as they are:

"‘The Lawns’ area was destined for future development as part of the original masterplan but the area has become an overwhelming success, much loved by the public. It is now integral to Spinningfields and will be maintained and enhanced, continuing as a special focal point for all kinds of activities.”

Elegy To Quay House

Quay House is one of those sixties buildings that have become derided, abused and thrown in the litter bin of International Modernism, yet, if you look at it objectively, yes, it might be typical of its time, but it is still a building of great subtlety and balance.

The architects are one of the great dynasties of top class Manchester design - HS Fairhurst & Son. The firm still exists as Fairhurst Design Group.

The International Modern style is going through a revival from the sort of people who get nostalgic over vinyl records.  

The city would be poorer without the Fairhursts.

Bridgewater House, India House, Lancaster House, Ship Canal House, Rylands Building (now Debenhams) - the list goes on - are all to the designs of HS Fairhurst.

These are key landmarks of the city.

Imagine Manchester without the rows of glittering warehouses along Whitworth Street between Princess Street and Oxford Street. Every visitor I take around the city adores this impressive manmade canyon.

Quay House as it is nowQuay HouseQuay House was completed between 1964-5 - it's fifty-years-old. Given a scrub it still looks sharp, its sandstone textured concrete panels bold, its eight floors and thirty-eight bays somehow heroic.

There was a return to classical inspiration in many Modernist buildings, a return to the discipline of a mathematical assembly of massing with a building.

The three (that ancient power of three) protruding bays of Quay House between recessed stair towers recall the design of typical Georgian buildings in Britain - Manchester Art Gallery, Lyme Hall and Cobden House (directly opposite Quay House) are local examples. Just take away the columned protruding centre porticos of these buildings and the basic shapes are similar.

The Art GalleryThe Art GalleryIn Quay House, the way the ground floor was cut-away delivering a shady overhang - a pillarless arcade - adds another playful Classical air to the whole. It also adds more texture.  

Quay House is a good sixties building. This may still be an oxymoron but look at it without prejudice and you might see that.

Curiously International Modern buildings are going through a revival in opinion at present - see Phil Griffin's review of Concretopia here - albeit often from the sort of people who get nostalgic over vinyl records. Modernism has in certain circles become as voguish as a Brompton bicycle. 

Having said all this the replacement design by Ian Simpson looks very strong, even exciting - Simpson still lives by the principles of Modernism himself. His glass palace should be far better than all but the Civil Justice Centre in the Spinningfields redevelopment.

Cobden House in threesCobden House in threesIn the press release above there's also another welcome gesture - and generous in a commercial development. Michael Ingall at Allied London says he intends to retain the public area in its present dimensions at 'The Lawns'. Good. This has become a much used and loved area of city life.

One of the dreams of the post-war Modernists was for 'streets in the sky', those failed pedestrian walkways that connected flats in developments such as Hulme. With Manchester House, Cloud 23, Hotel Gotham, Great John Street Hotel's cocktail roof and now No 1 Spinningfields the city seems set on course for a network of restaurants in the sky instead. 

Back to Quay House.

Maybe for many people when Quay House goes, the fabulous 2009 Manchester International Festival production of It Felt Like A Kiss from Punchdrunk Theatre will be it's finest hour. Others might feel it was the fact it that the building hosted Manchester Confidential for a while - well at least we will in Manchester Confidential.

Jonathan Schofield

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

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60 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

melodyJanuary 21st 2014.

Why does this man insist on erecting these glass monstrosities ! And why is he allowed to

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Alex24January 21st 2014.

Because they reflect light and compliment our sometimes grey skyline. Have you seen the current state that building is in? - even if this isn't your thing, it's still a drastic improvement.

melodyJanuary 21st 2014.

If this building and the other identikit ones like it are there in 50 / 60 years I will be amazed, building built for now! No legacy but at least it will keep construction companies in business, building, knock em down and build again...

Ghostly TomJanuary 22nd 2014.

Glass is good, it reflects what is around it and the new types are self cleaning so it won't deteriorate like stone or brick. My favourite one is the curvy building behind King Street that is uncompromisingly modern, looks great and reflects the beautiful architecture around it. I think Melody should embrace the glass, it works well in Manchester even under our soft grey skies.

SoapysudsJanuary 22nd 2014.

At a time when we should be reducing our carbon emissions, we are demolishing sound buildings and replacing them with energy inefficient glass monuments to man's stupidity.

Ghostly TomFebruary 4th 2014.

Actually glass is very good for keeping buildings warm in winter and can be used to easily keep them cool in summer (just open the window). Glass is good soapysuds...

AnonymousJanuary 21st 2014.

many couriers charge extra to deliver to the award winning 3 hardman square because of the time it takes to get around the building... just putting that in...

crisbyJanuary 21st 2014.

It'll certainly be an improvement, and a step up in my view from the depressingly mediocre architecture in that area (excluding the filing cabinet and the oast house of course); but do we need more off-the-shelf plutocratic could-be-anywhere buildings? Wouldn't it be nice if we had more architecture that tried to look as if it belonged in Manchester rather than London/Frankfurt/Dubai or wherever?

crisbyJanuary 21st 2014.

Actually this one's quite good. Maybe Ian Simpson is back on form? - in the last few years his output has become a bit formulaic.

crisbyJanuary 21st 2014.

Yes I know those two rants were not entirely consistent ...

Ghostly TomJanuary 22nd 2014.

I quite like the look of it though taller would have been better. Just one thing. Are they recycling the existing block, covering it with glass and sticking a tower on top? Or is it all new build?

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2014.

Another Simpson glass block. BORING.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2014.

So thanks to a decision by Allied London, 'The Lawns' in Spinningfields, originally earmarked for development, will remain largely as they are? That's great news, but the fact they were "originally destined" for future development (as part of the original masterplan) signifies to me MCC's lack of vision, apathy & poor decision making when it comes to planning.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Charlie ButterworthJanuary 22nd 2014.

For Gawd's sake stop whinging. Spinningfields has been fabulous for Manchester bringing to life a whole area of the city that was a no-reason to go area before hand.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2014.

Charlie I agree that Spinningfields in it's current guise is a worthy addition to city but Anon does make a good point. We're very fortunate that Allied London are keeping that green space but (and it's a big but) we shouldn't have to rely on this sort of philanthropy to have a little open space in the city. We pay a council that's supposed to do this for us. Hopefully, they will will be a little more proactive when it comes to redeveloping the Granada site. I think this is a good Ian Simpson building. I like Beetham and Urbis but Simpson isn't world class. It'd be great if Allied London could persuade (beg) Lord Foster to design at least 1 building on the Granada site.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2014.

QUOTE; "‘The Lawns’ area was destined for future development as part of the original masterplan but the area has become an overwhelming success, much loved by the public. It is now integral to Spinningfields and will be maintained and enhanced, continuing as a special focal point for all kinds of activities." So we've ended up with a fantastic space through luck, rather than design. Because if it wasn't for the 2008 banking crises & resulting recession, that light airy plot would now have a building on it! Anybody concerned about the people we "entrust to oversee" Manchester's masterplans?

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2014.

Because it is Manchester how about a building with immensely tall dark-glass chimneys and artificial smoke coming out (or else the top floor could be just for smokers).

JoanJanuary 22nd 2014.

Not sure what people mean by 'architecture that tried to look as if it belonged in Manchester'. Is it the Manchester palazzo style of our warehouses you're after? They were modelled on an Italian style.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 22nd 2014.

Joan you're right to point this out. The city has to be progressive and not make a pastiche fool of itself. Just down from Quay House are some awful fake Georgian Townhouses that are actually offices. They date from the eighties and are an eyesore. Shame Spinningfields can't tear these down as well.

SquirrelitoJanuary 22nd 2014.

same goes for those on Oxford Court between Barbirolli Square and Chepstow Street: Georgian-Brookside vernacular. Pants.

crisbyJanuary 23rd 2014.

That's quite true but surely it must be possible to create a modern Manchester style without resorting to pastiche? (we can thank Simpson of course for a body of work that goes some way to doing that, but most of what has been completed in the last 5 or so years falls way short of that).

Ghostly TomJanuary 24th 2014.

I loathe those fake Georgian house buildings that are actually offices. They were stuck up when the backlash against all that 60s development was at its height. Would love to see them go. And I'm coming round to, good, 60s buildings. I'm worried about The toast rack in Fallowfield and those 60s buildings on the Sackville Street campus of Manchester University. Looks like a set from a Bond movie of the time...

AnonymousFebruary 4th 2014.

@Ghostly Tom don't 'worry' about those dull concrete late sixties campus buildings. They're riddled with asbestos and are in the process of having it removed.

JoanJanuary 22nd 2014.

By the way, the Spinningfields site was created by knocking down buildings. The landowner who will happily knock down city centre buildings to replace then with a permanent green space hasn't put in an appearance.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2014.

Sorry Joan, not sure what you mean. Are you saying it's a bad thing that Allied London aren't going to build on the open space in Spinningfields? Spinningfield has been a specific area of Manchester for years. It's detailed on the Tinker map of 1772 along with Wood Street. Although worth noting that I personally prefer Cupids Alley to it's current name of Atkinson Street. In 1807 the current Spinningfield site was a public garden. By 1824 it'd all been built on and Parliament Street was in. Sometime between 1836 and 1848 this became (and stayed) Hardman Street. One of the buildings that was pulled down was the 'Hospital for Consumption and Throat diseases'.....and if you think you wouldn't want an appointment card from there, Quay street used to be home to the 'Hospital for Skin and infectious diseases'......Oh no I think I'm turning into Johnathan Schofield!

crisbyJanuary 23rd 2014.

Surely MCC owned a lot of Spinningfields? And wasn't it supposed to be master planned? That was when the chance for a bold civic space was missed, basically because MCC's planners are too fixated on shiny new buildings and sucking up to developers than looking for a future city that we can be really proud of. I cringe , for instance, every time I walk through the pinched, windy space that could have been a new Crown Square. Elsewhere the Spinningfields 'public realm' is good, but insufficient.

Poster BoyJanuary 24th 2014.

Spinningfields is effectively a joint venture between MCC and Allied London by marriage of ownership. The idea of a shiny new business district in the city to attract large inward and indigenous occupiers was, and has proved to be correct. Unfortunately the execution in terms of spatial planning and public realm leaves much to be desired -hence the revised retention of 'The Lawns', for example, being an admission of this. It is more worrying that a good example (and there isn't much) of the city's 1960's architecture is under threat. The aesthetic vitality of cities comes from the juxtaposition of great buildings of different styles and ages, and not from monolithic glass edifices of one age. Wither the future of the former Granada TV building in Allied London's custody and grand commercial 'vision'...?

KarlJanuary 22nd 2014.

I wonder how much sunlight the building will let through onto the grass though.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
SquirrelitoJanuary 22nd 2014.

Yeah, my thoughts too. From the render it looks to be perfectly lined up with the lawns on the south / south west edge. which would be a bit of a shame to keep the open space and then drench it in shade. I vote for castors on the tower section and slide it to the other end of Quay House behind Carluccios

SquirrelitoJanuary 22nd 2014.

I take that back. I've just had a very scientific rootle around on google streetview. Clearly, the tower is needed by the developers for floorspace and the spot they've chosen should only block sunlight for a bit of the early afternoon, so balmy evenings should be largely unaffected.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2014.

Best regional office building in the UK? have they not even looked up the road at the Co-ops angel square?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2014.

Angel Square is head and shoulders above this design. My favourite modern building in Manchester.

Charlie ButterworthJanuary 22nd 2014.

Anon, that's a quote from the boss trying to get investment. He's marketing. What do you expect him to say.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2014.

I know what it is, just thought it was worth pointing out as the author of the piece didnt.

MCR Cuture VultureJanuary 22nd 2014.

Horrid. This man is a egomaniac with his boring glass building. The granada building is part of Manchester's architectural and cultural TV history. It should stay or cleaned up and incorporated into any new build. But then this is manchester and our city council doesn't give a fuck about things like that do they!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 22nd 2014.

This isn't about the Granada building dear self-described MCR Culture Vulture. Read it properly eh?

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2014.

More boring glass blocks. Hurrah for Spinningfields. A triumph in bullshit, glass and concrete.

Miz DeshannonJanuary 22nd 2014.

We're going to be lumbered with another Foster-esque glass monolith shard building, made from cheap glass that greens in a few years like No.1 Deansgate and Urbis have. Mind you, it's all part of the post-bomb reconstruction masterplan.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Ghostly TomJanuary 24th 2014.

If only we were to get something as iconic as The Shard.... Manchester needs a couple of buildings like that. While I don't object to this building, it's not in the same class as The Shard or the beautiful but ugly named Gherkin...

AnonymousJanuary 24th 2014.

It's never official been named "The Gherkin", it's just something that people started calling it which stuck. Lovely building though - very similar to the Torre Agbar which is fantastic.

Poster BoyJanuary 22nd 2014.

List !

Andrew WigleyJanuary 22nd 2014.

Mr Simpson must have played with a lot of Lego as a kid. He is turning Manchester into Lego Bland...

1 Response: Reply To This...
David HagueFebruary 24th 2014.

cost and returns developers expect on investment returns limit design

Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 22nd 2014.

It depresses me when I read these rants becauses clearly people have no idea about how design and the world works. I have written an elegy for Quay House but it was ever only a commercial building, a transition building. I like it but won't massively regret its passing. I'd rather have that shifting nature of a still vital (as in alive city) than some notion of Manchester being Pisa or York or a celebration of ossification. We are still creating monuments should be the ideal not we should celebrate the monuments we have and should create no more. Simpson's building might be all right you know? It might be the practice's best. Either way it represents energy whereas most of the ranters above represent a lack of vision: the whingy kid who couldn't get on the football team so dislikes those who did. Manchester has always reinvented itself. That should be the controlling thought.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2014.

I agree with what you are saying, but I think that (from the drawings) the building does look a little bland, so where is the vision in that? It looks like he's just taken Mcr House, clad it in glass and plonked it on top of Quay House. Yes, it might be nice that it mirrors the other end of Spinningfields but in a more 21st C way, but it's still a little dull.

Ghostly TomJanuary 24th 2014.

Absolutely! A city that isn't reinventing itself is in decline. Standing still isn't an option. Venice is beautiful but not even a shadow of itself when it was at its height, all the economic dynamism has fled to the mainland suburbs and the Lido. Venice is an open air museum. Heritage cities in the UK like York and Bath are going that way and I guess they can make a lot of money from tourism. While we should protect our historical buildings that can't happen to Manchester. Spinningfields is a hugely successful part of the city which people enjoy going to. It's a different world five minutes walk from Albert Square and it's glass towers are the economic equivalent of the Renaissance Palace inspired buildings of Victorian Manchester. And please remember that the Victorian city fathers whose buildings we so admire had no worries about sweeping away the pretty Georgian market town that was there before. We, at least, develop the modern buildings of Manchester while retaining the best of the old city.

AnonymousJanuary 24th 2014.

Well said JS, and Ghostly Tom.

AnonymousJanuary 24th 2014.

JS, I don't think you should be depressed. From these rants I get the impression that people just want something better. Competition breeds excellence. The problem with Manchester there is none. From the top of the council right down to their architect of choice. Let's lead rather than follow.

MCR Cuture VultureJanuary 23rd 2014.

"Manchester has always reinvented itself. " - but not always for the better!

1 Response: Reply To This...
MGSJanuary 23rd 2014.

go on....

JoanJanuary 23rd 2014.

Sorry. I was both misleading and wrong in my reply much further up. The point I was making was that it’s not a strong argument to complain about spaces being built on when the spaces have only appeared because buildings have been knocked down. If landowners risked a ban on rebuilding they'd be reluctant to demolish, and we'd be over-dominated by old buildings. Where I was wrong is that we do now have a landowner who is prepared to provide permanent green space on previously built-on land. That is Allied London, which has now, I hear, decided to keep a small part of Spinningfields green. But I doubt it will catch on more widely. It needs to be a small piece of land within a much larger area for it to make sense to commercial organisations. Crisby: You may well be right. I don’t know the facts of the land ownership back then, but even so there would have been strong pressures to create a concentration of employment-attracting office space, and in that the plans have succeeded.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Poster BoyJanuary 24th 2014.

Let's get real. The reason Allied London keep a small part of Spinningfields green, is because there is a commercial imperative to it.

JoanJanuary 24th 2014.

I think we agree. As I said "It needs to be a small piece of land within a much larger area for it to make sense to commercial organisations" The green space brings life to the area and makes the potential revenue per square foot of built space greater. The ratio needs to be strong enough for it to be a 'commercial imperative'. We're not disagreeing.

AnonymousJanuary 24th 2014.

Joan, thanks for the clarification. Poster boy you're right it's staying because of the commercial imperative. The open space draws people to the area. I say let's not leave it to chance next time. Let's plan it in!.....Obviously for that we need a strong and ambitious council leader!

JoanJanuary 24th 2014.

Agreed. I understand that Allied London purchased the Spinningfields site in 1997. At the time the UK was moving from 18 years of Tory rule to the start of New Labour. Looking back it seems like a different world. Contemporary and future expected use of the city would have been very different. Even ten years later people thought it odd when Manchester Jazz Festival took a stage there. So it’s no surprise that plans formulated at the time are different from what we would now consider essential. As for the Granada site, in an article for City Centre Voice I’ve said “There’s no promises, but there is a possibility that the Granada Garden, the Granada TV Building, and the Bonded Warehouse might just be saved. There could be also be a nod to the Corrie heritage, maybe statues ……. or a pub?” The draft development framework presented by others a year ago did include some green space, but probably not the Granada garden. It’s much better to keep it.

James SmithJanuary 24th 2014.

Shame Foster's original proposal for replacing Quay House never made it. That would have been something pretty special.

Duke FameJanuary 25th 2014.

I'm sure they've done their sums but it strikes me that there is over-capacity for office space in Manc. Who will fill it?

1 Response: Reply To This...
JoanJanuary 25th 2014.

I think the same was said when the Spinningfields development was first announced.

Peter CoppingJanuary 25th 2014.

Pleased you like the Whitworth Conservation Area but you need to have you eye on the area adjacent to it as well as literally the hole in the middle and the planning permissions an applications for mod to some its grand 20C buildings. On one grade two listed building the council have issued an enforcement notice on some changes but have not yet insisted that they be done. The replacement of the MMU Building in Aytoun Street is being prepared for planning application and the building to replace the employment exchange, which at least fits the nondescript buildings on either side, is underway No doubt the development of the UMIST (all of it) is being be arranged in conjunction with the Master Plan for the HS2 Station.

AnonymousJanuary 25th 2014.

Looks fine but will it be another wind tunnel, down below, like The Avenue is????

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