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A new centre for Manchester

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Manchester is to have a new international convention centre by the end of the year 2000. Sheppard Robson and Stephenson/Bell were appointed by the city council after a competitive interview and fee bid. The centre, which is on a sloping triangular site, has been designed to connect with the surrounding buildings and streets, and to take into account the fact that a 14-storey office block is to be built immediately to the south of the site.

From the main entrance on Windmill Street two levels of foyer space wrap around an 800-seat raked-floor auditorium, feeding into it and leading on to an exhibition hall. The next level up leads to seminar rooms which connect directly to the seminar centre attached to the

G-Mex. A service stack between the auditorium and hall has wcs and services at lower levels, and plant rooms at upper levels, while the Watson Street level accommodates the deliveries bay, boilerhouse, main kitchens, stage, dressing rooms and stores.

The convention centre, which has just started on site, is part of the Great Northern Initiative, a joint public-sector/private-sector partnership involving the city council, English Partnerships, the European Development Fund and developer Morrison Merlin.

Client: Manchester City Council Special Projects

Architect: Sheppard Robson, Stephenson Bell

Design & build contractor: Tarmac Building Manchester Office

Quantity surveyor: Davis Langdon & Everest

M&E, acoustic and IT engineer: Arups

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