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109 PRINCESS STREET

This Grade II-listed Italianate warehouse, constructed in 1863 and designed by Manchester architect Clegg & Knowles, has been converted into apartments. The building has masonry walls with an internal frame of cast-iron columns and pitch-pine beams. The entrance to the residential accommodation is in the former loading bay, and apartments on each floor are arranged either side of a spine corridor, punctuated by semi-private 'hollows' which contain benches and the entrance to each flat. The corridor terminates at a secondary means-of-escape staircase.

Having identified a demand for smaller apartments on the lower floors and larger ones on the upper levels, the architect put pied-a-terre flats on the first floor, one-bedroom flats on the second and third floors, and mainly two-bedroom apartments on the fourth floor. To exploit the first-floor floor-to-ceiling height of 4.1m, compared to the standard floor-to-floor height of 3.2 metres, and to allow for the higher density of flats, first-floor apartments have a compact 'servant' pod with integrated kitchen, bathroom, storage area, bed deck and wardrobe. On the fourth floor, directly under the roof, much of the space was too low to inhabit, prompting the introduction of a raised metal roof running round the perimeter of the building, much like a continuous dormer window. The existing roof timbers have been retained, in keeping with the general strategy of minimal new insertions juxtaposed against the existing structure.

CLIENT: Crosby Holmes North West

ARCHITECT: Stephenson Bell: Jeffrey Bell, Jon Brent, Tim Pickbourne

qs: Simon Fenton Partnership

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Eric Bassett Associates

SERVICES ENGINEER: John Toughear Associates

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