Reinventing a Manchester icon to create a unique development: a hotel, bar, event space, offices and homes in a new city district.
Granada Television HQ, designed by Ralph Tubbs, is a Manchester icon – home to Coronation Street and The Beatles’ first ever televised performance. Following ITV’s move to MediaCity, Allied London purchased the site and asked us to redesign the building. Sitting at the gateway of the St John’s masterplan – a vibrant neighbourhood for culture, business and living – our design proposals needed to create exciting new facilities; mark this prominent location and provide a fitting tribute to the site’s illustrious past.
From the outset, we worked closely with Allied London, led by Mike Ingall, to test options for the site, checking that the eventual uses would fit in with the wider masterplan. It was essential that the prestigious Granada Television HQ building was retained, with the preference for it to become an event hotel. We had free rein to explore other uses for different elements of the site, from cinemas and swimming pools to theatres and music venues.
From the exterior, Granada Television HQ will look no different: as only one of five remaining Tubbs’ buildings, we were keen to respect its architectural significance. The iconic geometric façade will be retained with hotel rooms behind. A bar will sit atop the hotel, within a new, glowing glass box to replace the studio sign. The television studios themselves will remain as unique event and performance spaces.
A new building adjacent will provide apartments, offices and retail units. The homes, either duplex or penthouse apartments, all have generous winter gardens or balconies as well as access to a private rooftop swimming pool and sun terrace. The commercial space here is complemented by modular units to the rear of the site, which offer further workspace for small, start-up companies. Throughout, our priority was to capture the magic of the original Granada Studio site to create somewhere that people would be drawn to visit.
Historically, the Old Granada Studios buildings have expanded in an ad hoc manner, with each addition functional and pragmatic in its aesthetic. Our intention is to honour this approach and allow the new additions to express their own architectural identity.