One of the first major commercial projects to surface since 2008 in Manchester has been approved by the local council, an early indication that perhaps the commercial office development pipeline is starting to pick up again.
The Peterloo House site is located on Dickinson Street in central Manchester and stands on a neighbouring block to the Glenn Howells designed Elisabeth House at One St Peter's Square.
Squire and Partners has designed the project for what is a joint venture between the Co-operative Insurance Society, part of the Co-operative Group, and AXA Real Estate that features the construction of the 14 floor building in the place of the existing 7-storey Peterloo House which is unsuitable for renovation thanks to the low floor to ceiling heights.
The height of the building was decided after consultation with numerous public bodies including English Heritage who were welcoming of a taller proposal such as the one which has now emerged. It also helps the mass of the building blend in with the surrounding skyline was is dominated by office blocks of a vertical similar scale.
The building design features a reconstituted stone clad frame, with copper paneling between the windows creating a restrained corporate look that also blends in well with the Elisabeth House proposals. Narrowing the bulk of the building the top two occupiable floors step back, with a fašade overrun shielding their terrace. The upper plant level steps back further as if to hide itself.
To see how good this sort of design from this particular firm can end up appearing, one has to look no further than Squire and Partners recently completed Unison Building on Euston Road.
The location of the entrance to the building on George Street is immediately identifiable thanks to the fact the architect has decided to cut out the corner windows behind the stone frame on the floors above above it working as a clever piece of place-marking.
Within the new design there will be 9,750 square metres of grade B office space, although a pre-let to an anchor tenant to fill approximately half the building will be required before construction can start.
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