• Architecture
  • Commercial

No.1 Hardman Street,
Manchester

Info

Project Details:

The jewel in Manchesters' Spinningfields’ crown – a striking office building delivered on a shoestring budget.

Client: Allied London

Construction Value: £3.2m

Completion: 2014

Location: Manchester

Awards:

  • BCO Awards 2015, Commercial Workplace: Winner
  • Manchester Society of Architects Awards 2015, Commercial (Built): Shortlisted

Images: David Millington

People

No.1 Hardman Street sits within the Spinningfields development in Manchester – a vast regeneration scheme that has transformed a whole area of the city. This, the final plot to come forward, was a small, restricted but prominent infill site, surrounded by modern glass office blocks.

We were first approached by Allied London, with whom we had just completed the iconic Brunswick Centre regeneration, to enter an invited competition to develop the site. Led by Mike Ingall, their vision was to build innovative office space that was eye-catching and full of character, unlike its corporate neighbours, to attract Manchester’s burgeoning creative businesses.

The building is a bold new addition to the streetscape

We worked with Mediacom throughout the design process

Unusually, on this project we were able to work with the building’s operator as well as the developer. Mediacom came on board quite early in the process – having struggled to find existing office space in the city, they were excited by the prospect of having their name above the door of a brand new development. Signing up so early meant they were very involved in the design process, working alongside Allied London and ourselves to transform this blank canvas into their own attractive and functional working environment, tailored specifically to their needs.

However, not long after planning permission had been granted, the recession hit and all work on the project stopped. Once the economy picked up again in 2012, like many other projects at that time, the focus was to get the building finished as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The building is the final piece of the Spinningfields puzzle – a dazzling office that is anything but corporate and proof that designing on a budget can still create something unusual and inventive.

Mark Keegan, Associate Director

Early collaboration meant the work environment could be customised to Mediacom's particular needs

Design

The innovative facade is striking both day and night

Being flanked on all sides by glass office buildings, we wanted to take a different approach to No.1 Hardman Street. To this end, we developed a structure with a very simple, cost-effective frame and a more elaborate skin to sit over the top. This skin takes the form of a powder-coated aluminium screen, with laser cut circular openings, which wraps around the building from first to fourth floor, contrasting with the simple solid black panels sitting behind it. Illuminations are also projected onto the perforated screen, creating more interest at street level.

At five storeys, the building provides 1,500m2 office space with a double height main entrance foyer and rooftop terrace. Inside, the exposed steel structure, services and concrete soffits create a raw, industrial aesthetic, in contrast to the interiors of the nearby slick, glazed offices.

The interior is crisp and modern

Signing up to No.1 Hardman Street was a real step in the dark for us – it was a huge challenge but we saw the potential for creating our own space and two years on, our original vision was realised. It turned out to be a real statement of intent for us and Manchester itself.

John Marshall, Group Marketing and New Business Director, Mediacom

An early concept diagram

The building has become a landmark for the area

A roof terrace provides useful space for office workers

The fit out is contemporary with bright colours and surface mounted services

Flexibility was a key consideration throughout – from signing up to moving in, Mediacom grew significantly in size. As well as adjustable working areas, the two ground floor meeting rooms can be opened up to create a large space for presentations, conferences and events, meaning the building doubles as a venue for Manchester's media sector.

From start to finish, No.1 Hardman Street took only 18 months to complete. Since moving in in 2014, Mediacom have noticed that being in a more stimulating, creative environment has increased staff morale, the quality of their work and helped to win over new recruits, too.

Core team

Gary Tidmarsh

Chairman

Tony Hall

Technical Design Director

Mark Keegan

Associate Director

Victoria Turner

Associate Director

Dominic Cava-Simmons

Project Architect

Gillian Harrison

Senior Architect

Mark Turner

Architect