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Stephenson Bell presses printing works into service

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Architect Stephenson Bell's £4.5 million mixed-use refurbishment of the Daily Express' former Manchester printing works aims to break down the traditional boundaries between home and work.

In its new role, the 1960s building will serve as both residential accommodation and office space for its occupants, partner Jeff Bell said. The building mirrors the adjacent 1930s Modernist icon that served as the newspaper group's northern newsgathering base.

Client Artisan Homes has now begun marketing the space and commercial purchasers have begun to buy residential space within the building.

'The intention was to get people to live and work in the same building while attempting to retain the spirit of the existing building, ' Bell said.

The architect's brief was to create a true mixeduse 'live/work' development consisting of 60 per cent office space and 40 per cent residential units.

'The approach we took was to try and retain the basic plan of the former printing works, ' he said.

The building once consisted of a multi-level pressroom surrounded by operations rooms. The refurbished pressroom has become an atrium and lightwell, the operations rooms have been converted into offices and apartments and the basement is now a car park. A glass floor in the lightwell separates work space and residences.

Bell said the building's Modernist neighbour had been refurbished in the mid 1990s but that much of its original character had been lost in the work.

Meanwhile, in May Stephenson Bell will submit its proposal for the redevelopment of a site once occupied by Manchester's Hacienda nightclub. The club was closed by its owner Factory Records in the 1990s, after which the site was razed, but litigation has prevented the use of the name Hacienda in future projects on the site. The current - nameless - proposal by Stephenson Bell is expected to cost £13 million to build.

Its plans are for Crosby Homes, which hopes to build a multi-storey mixed-use building on the site at Whitworth Street West in the city's south.

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