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SOM brought in to deliver Hodder’s St Michael’s tower in Manchester

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Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has been brought in to deliver Hodder + Partners’ controversial St Michael’s tower in Manchester, with the local practice kept on the project as design guardian 

The US firm behind New York’s One World Trade Center has been appointed by contractor Laing O’Rourke as architect for the build-out of the 40-storey skyscraper.

However the developer, a partnership which includes ex-footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs as well as Manchester City Council and funder Rowsley, confirmed Hodder would be retained on the rejigged team.

Stephen Hodder said he’d agreed to stay on as he had worked on the project for two years and ’turned the scheme around’.

He said: ’I now feel that I have a civic responsibility as design guardian, to ensure the project is delivered as per the planning consent. As the design develops, it needs to be fully compliant, and I’ve been reassured that it will be delivered along the lines of what has been approved.’

SOM’s appointment is the latest in a series of reshuffles on the high-profile project, which will create 13,657m² of office space, 2,973m² of leisure space, 170 flats, and a 200-bedroom hotel.

Hodder + Partners’ tower, approved in March 2018, replaced a previous proposal by Make, which resigned from the city-centre development after almost a decade working on it.

Hodder’s reworked design changed the configuration of the single 134.5m centrepiece skyscraper into a ‘unique lozenge shape’, with a floating canopy supported by a three-storey colonnade at the crown of the building. 

Among the changes to the reworked scheme were the retention of the historic Sir Ralph Abercromby pub and the frontage of the Neoclassical Bootle Street Police Station (1937).

Both had been scheduled to be demolished to make way for the Make-designed development, and in January 2017 the police station was included in The Twentieth Century Society’s top 10 list of buildings most at risk.

Despite the design changes, Hodder’s scheme also proved controversial. SAVE Britain’s Heritage attempted to challenge Manchester Council’s approval of the scheme, but the government turned down the request.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Nice of them to try and deliver something 'along the lines of' what's been approved. Why not try actually sticking to what's been approved, in this extremely sensitive location? Is it any wonder there's no public trust of developers? (see Grosvenor survey at https://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/98-of-public-dont-trust-developers-research-shows/5100575.article)

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