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The Knott Mill area lies to the south west of Manchester city centre. The site, currently a carpark, borders road and rail viaducts on two sides, and straddles the basin of the Bridgewater Canal. Stephenson Bell has designed a development of 100 apartments and a ground-level gallery space in four blocks varying in height from five to seven storeys, with each floor arranged as a four-flat cluster around a stair. This both achieves a high net-to-gross ratio, and eliminates the need for a central corridor, allowing kitchens and bathrooms to be brought together in the centre of the plan, thus centralising service runs.

The blocks are arranged in a line, echoing the warehouse which occupied the site in previous times, but are separated from each other by four glazed atria. Like the previous warehouse, the building bridges the Bridgewater canal. Water which flows under the building will be seen at the front of the building before flowing into culverts under Old Deansgate. Entrance to the building is via timber and steel bridges across a light well. The building is steel-framed with steel and timber balconies, and windows punched into brick walls. Reception rooms have cantilevered steel and glass box windows. Stair walls and the curved walls are terracotta rainscreen- clad, with penthouses clad in stainless steel.

CLIENT: Crosby Homes (North West)

ARCHITECT: Stephenson Bell Architects: Jeff Bell, Keith Andrews, Rosemarie Andrews, John Brent, Ian Tarry, Barrie Cheng, Mike Cunniff

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Martin Stockley Associates

SERVICES ENGINEER: JS Wright & Co, J T Hawkes (Electrical Contractors)

INFRASTRUCTURE: Transport Planning Group

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