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OMI gets go-ahead for Salford housing

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Manchester-based OMI Architects has been given the green-light for a brick-clad apartment scheme in Salford

The 491-home Wilburn Street Basin project includes one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, townhouses and garden flats alongside 650m2 of ground floor commercial space.

Ranging in height from eight to 21 storeys, the development features four blocks arranged around a central courtyard.

The scheme, which was approved by Salford City Council’s planning committee, sits on the quayside of the River Irwell. The ‘gateway site’, close to Manchester city centre, is built around the historic Wilburn Street Basin which was used in the nineteenth-century to transport goods by boat from Salford.

Work on site is due to begin in January 2015.


The architect’s view

‘Block A is the tallest structure at 21 storeys in height and has been placed parallel to the Basin inlet on the north/south axis. By placing the block to the north, the building’s shadow will be cast over the railway and roadway to the north. Thereby avoiding shade to the quayside and protecting the amenity.

‘The accommodation on the lower four floors of Block A has been cut back to offer glimpses into the basin from Trinity Way. The tall slim gable of Block A is on axis with the southern approach along Trinity Bridge. This is a dramatic landmark forming a memorable gateway to Salford.

‘On Ordsall Lane the street is to be dramatically transformed by two 8 and 10 storey apartment buildings lining the route (Blocks B and C). The footpath has been widened and active commercial frontages introduced at pavement level to enliven the public realm. The gap between these buildings frames vistas into the site and beyond to landmarks such as Manchester’s Beetham Tower, thus reinforcing contact with the City centre. 

On the riverside, Building D is set back slightly to accommodate private terraces at the lowest level. These sit above the existing retaining wall to the Riverside Walk approximately 3.0m above the pathway. This ensures privacy to the new dwellings and clear definition between public and private space.

‘The lower blocks (B and C) are predominantly brick with deep recessed openings. There is also a limited amount of feature panels in metal cladding or contrasting brickwork. As the buildings get taller on Blocks A and D (13-21 storeys) a higher proportion of metal cladding has been introduced and the window openings grouped into a grid pattern. A relationship between all the blocks is maintained whilst adopting a hierarchy of proportion and scale.  The aim is to convey a family of buildings that are well built, well proportioned and exude solidity, permanence and integrity.’

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