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Stephenson Bell scoops central-Manchester tower scheme - image

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Stephenson Bell has won the three-way contest to design a new £14 million office tower in Manchester city centre.

The locally based practice saw off bids from HKR and skyscraper supremo Ian Simpson to land the scheme, following a developer-organised design competition (see AJ 03.08.06).

The three practices were approached by property giant Bruntwood to come up with a 4,700m 2building to replace an existing three-storey 1970s block in Fountain Street.

The developer had given the firms just four weeks to come up with a 'cutting-edge design' for the challenging plot.

Speaking before the official announcement which is expected later today, Bruntwood's development director Peter Crowther said: 'We are developing this building as an investment, not to sell. Consequently we [were] looking for long-term flexibility and a design that will look good in 20 years' time.'

He added: 'All three practices used the latitude of the brief to provide very different answers to the questions posed.'

Bizarrely, Stephenson Bell's scheme actually came last in a public poll on north-west-based website www.designfood.co.uk, which asked readers to select their favourite.

by Richard Waite

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