Ian Simpson Architects has designed a new skyscraper as part of a massive development on Owen Street in central Manchester.
Located only a short distance from the Beetham Tower and the planned Central Spine, the scheme consists of five blocks, the shortest of which is Block A at 49 metres. Blocks C and E stand at the same height of 89.25 metres whilst the two tallest blocks are Block B at 103.5 metres and Block D which just sneaks into the skyscraper classification at precisely 150 metres.
They've been orientated in such a way as to respond to the existing city blocks and street lines in the area making the project a more organic addition rather than something inconsiderately plonked in. In terms of the layout of the heights of the buildings rather than rise up in height they are more mixed to create a depth on the site.
Due to the height of the buildings, maximizing solar penetration was also an issue, not least because at ground level between the blocks will be surrounded by new landscaped open space, particularly in the area running adjacent alongside the River Medlock.
New pedestrian routes will be created running from Old Deansgate to Pond Street and from Owen Street to the River Medlock improving accessibility and again threading the scheme in more with the existing Manchester street-lines. Shops punctuating this area will be provided in the form of what the architect has described as "retail pods".
Under will be three basement levels for parking. Above this is a 6 metre tall ground level succeeded by three podium floors dominated by vertical strips of white cladding. Standing over it is the main bulk of the towers that rise above appearing to be separated from the podium supported only by leg-like columns.
The fašade treatment is similar in patterning for each of the buildings with the variation coming from the colour employed. Light pastels are used cycling through pale yellows, blues and reds that relate to the colours of other buildings across Manchester that they are aligned with.
One of the catches of the development however is the look of the cladding. In describing it as "Simpsonesque" it appears similar in design to numerous other buildings the architect has done throughout the city leading to fears that Manchester's skyline may up looking rather too alike.
The scheme is a hugely ambitious move for the developer, Owen Street Developments, which when faced with competition from residential developments along Deansgate, and not to mention coming construction at the Central Spine, will find itself in a highly competitive environment.
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