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Tim Groom reveals concept plans for 36-storey ‘Mancunian Tower’


Tim Groom Architects has revealed proposals for a residential block on an undisclosed plot on Manchester’s western city fringe

The practice describes the 288-home scheme for an anonymous backer as a thought-provoking concept for a ‘Mancunian Tower’ and a catalyst for further debate about the city’s increasingly high-rise skyline (see How Ian Simpson’s cone aims to sculpt Manchester’s skyline).

The imagery was produced in collaboration with architectural visualiser DarcStudio.

Tg manc tower 02

Architect’s view

While we work nationally, we’re Mancunians and proud ones. There’s much discussion in Manchester about tall buildings, and we wanted to stimulate the debate with one of our ideas. It’s not our only idea – there are plenty of different approaches, as can be seen in the city at the moment.

A client asked us to look at a response to a site they were looking at, and we took our usual approach of holding an internal workshop to throw ideas around. The design for the Mancunian Tower has been influenced and informed through that workshop. We simply asked ourselves: ‘What is Manchester? What should a Manchester tower look like?’ We looked at our history, culture, industry, music, warehouses, smog and the textures of the city’s materiality.

Architects have a huge role to play in our society. Manchester’s top architects always have and always will do that with the support and backing of plenty of forward-thinking, design-driven developers. Our strong-minded and ambitious civic leadership remains the driving force behind the city. You only need to look at images from 15 or 20 years ago to see the incredible changes already made: the new St Peter’s Square; Spinningfields; New Islington and Ancoats; New East Manchester and many more, all the result of the strong partnership between our private and public sector.

A public debate about tall buildings and design is good

A public debate about tall buildings and design is good. Ian Simpson recently talked about an inverted bowl with tall buildings on the edge of the city. I can see a lot of sense in that. Equally, Stephen Hodder has a tall building in the civic core. There have been debates about height in other areas of the city as well. In my view it comes down to a thorough analysis of context, history and quality, and about using good architects – something Manchester does well. Architects need to make those opinions heard and debate them to contribute to Manchester society.

We collaborated with DarcStudio, who we work with a lot, on the artistry and atmosphere of the images for the Mancunian Tower. When they presented the images to us, we thought they were beautiful and captured what we wanted to achieve. The Mancunian Tower is as much about artistry as a specific building. It’s easy for some to forget the art of what we do. When the images were done, we decided to share them through social media, and there’s been a very positive reaction.

Lots of people have been asking: where will the Mancunian Tower be built, and will it be built? For now I can only say it’s a work in progress and needs much further thought and development. We are just pleased to be able to add to the debate and hopefully move it along a little.

Why does there need to be an alternative tall? Tall is good.

Tim groom mancunian tower model

Tim groom mancunian tower model 


Readers' comments (2)

  • Now we're getting there. Manchester needs to develop its own language rather than proposing bland nonsense that could be dropped into any city in the world.

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  • Robert Park

    This is a great looking building. Well done Tim Groom Architects. It's great to see a quirky, slightly subversive, formal language being used on a tower. These things are often just monuments to developer blandness. I really hope it gets built.

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