Architect Arca has converted a portal-frame maintenance garage, designed by Fitch in the 1980s, into Ashton-underLyne's Atomic Nightclub. The new club near Manchester has steel pylons on the main facade - part of the original design - which have been emphasised with new external up-lights - 'all part of making the building look whizzy and techy', according to John Lee of Arca. In place of three large garage doors, there is now a human-scale side entrance marked by a red canopy. The nightclub becomes a cafe during the day. At night, glazing and special effects light fittings give clear views of the inside. The transition from outside to inside is marked by a vivid red armature inserted in the existing building, designed to lead clubbers to the bar and then on into the heart of the building. The armature, made out of MDF and sprayed in glossy lacquer, serves as control desk, bar surface and club portal. At one end of the bar a vertical water feature adds to the glitter and activity. A new internal steel mezzanine structure provides platforms giving onlookers dramatic views across a double-height space. The selection of new internal elements was largely driven by the fast-track schedule:12 weeks from design to opening.
CLIENT Tokyo Industries
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Clancy Consulting
CONTRACTORS Able Construction NW, Compass Shopfitters, Wilraw Engineering