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Denton Corker Marshall wins go-ahead for two Manchester skyscrapers

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Manchester City Council has granted planning permission for a 36-storey twin tower scheme by Denton Corker Marshall (DCM) on the former Granada studios site in Manchester

Plans for the scheme, which is part of a £1.35 billion masterplan for the wider St John’s area, include 600 homes for private rent – described as a ‘private rented community’ – a basement car park and a public square.

The two towers, for developer Allied London, have been dubbed ‘Nickel and Dime’. They will be built next to a 52-storey tower by SimpsonHaugh and Partners, which was granted planning permission in October and is also part of the St John’s development. SimpsonHaugh is also producing the St John’s masterplan.

John Rintoul, partner at DCM, said: ’The visual concept, for both buildings, is to wrap a delicate metal skin, one in copper colour and the other in silver around a sleek glass box. The apartment windows appear as arbitrarily placed geometric perforations in the skin.

’They are a key residential component of the St Johns regeneration project in Manchester, offering high-quality apartments for the private rental market, and will become an important part of the development of a 24 hour leisure, culture and entertainment based neighbourhood.’

DCM originally won a competition to design three towers on the site in June; however these plans have since been revised down to the two buildings. A spokesperson from Allied London said the third tower may be brought forward later this year once the masterplan is considered again.

Heritage watchdog Historic England raised no objection to DCM’s scheme, despite its proximity to the Grade I-listed Liverpool Road Station – the oldest railway terminus in the world.

Allied London chief executive Michael Ingall said: ‘This is very much a research-led development; we believe in this city, in this location, and with this design we are creating something very special. ‎We believe people need living options, and private rented communities are very much part of those lifestyle choices.’

Work is expected to start on site in September, with completion scheduled for 2020.

Melbourne-based DCM, which has an outpost in Manchester, has previously completed the city’s 2008 Stirling Prize-shortlisted Civil Justice Centre and the One New York Street offices (2009).

The firm has also worked with Allied London on new office buildings at 20 Cannon Street and 28 Savile Row in London.

The St John’s regeneration scheme will transform the disused  Granada television production site into a 6ha mixed-use neighbourhood.

Its centrepiece will be OMA’s competition-winning flexible art space, named The Factory, which was granted planning permission in January.

The Dutch architect defeated practices including Zaha Hadid Architecture and Rafael Viñoly Architects to win the £110 million venue, named after Factory Records which started in Manchester in 1978.


Project data

Type of project Residential
Client Allied London
Architect Denton Corker Marshall
Landscape architect Gillespies
Planning consultant Deloittes
Structural engineer Curtins
M&E consultant Crookes Walker Consulting
Quantity surveyor G&T
Planning supervisor G&T
Start on site date September
Completion date 2020
Gross internal floor area 55,234m²

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Geoff Williams

    In the light of the Grenfell Tower disaster, I trust the M&E Consultancy will pay particular attention to the fire protection in those high rise building structures. Fire alarms systems, voice communications, emergency lighting, sprinklers, smoke barriers and, above all, a 2-hour fire rated MICC type cable to secure the electrical supply.

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