Gateway House Redevelopment,
MSA Design Award 2011
Gateway House, adjacent Piccadilly Station, is often a visitor’s first impression of Manchester. Originally designed by Richard Seifert & Partners, Gateway was built as part of a greater improvement and refurbishment of Piccadilly Station in the 1960s.
Now looking a little tired with a public realm unfitting to an international city, Hodder + Partners won a competition for the redevelopment of the Gateway House and Station Approach in 2009. The mixed use project comprises the refurbishment of the iconic Gateway House into a 270 bedroom hotel above the existing ground level of retail, together with a new 40,000 sq ft office block over 8,000 sq ft of retail space facing Ducie Street. A new 3 storey gym is also proposed to the rear of Gateway House.
The conversion of Gateway House resolves a missing piece of the city by creating a railway hotel, in the spirit of notable precedents, particularly in London. Gateway House is considered one of Manchester’s finest surviving buildings from the 1960s. As a result, the strategy for the refurbishment of Gateway House is one of conservation rather than reconstruction. Thus the building will be stripped back to its existing concrete structure and reload to meet current envelope requirements whilst retaining the horizontals and fine grain of the existing fenestration. The desire is for an animated façade to capture the dynamism of Station Approach whereby over 20 million people pass every year. The proposal is to utilise LED lights that will create the largest piece of public artwork in the city. Internally, the cantilevered stairs and William Mitchell GRP murals will be restored.
The main hotel accommodation (reception, bar and restaurant) is located at first floor level to maximise views over the city and reduce any noise impact of the busy streets below. The new colonnaded base will frame the individual shop units whilst giving an architectural logic to the existing corner that houses Café Nero. The concrete ‘framed base’ becomes the architectural language and rhythm of the new build elements of the scheme, linking the triumvirate of the hotel, retail and office.
The new office block accentuates the podium frame and uses it to form the structure for the office building. Taking the robust massing of the adjacent Victorian warehouse, the frame is used to conceptually hold a Miesian box that further clasps a glass cube. The layering of ‘frame and boxes’ pushes the glass cube northwards, projecting it out of its holding structure. The slip of the glass cube is deliberate in order to create a recess on the southern elevation (which is also louvred) and a projection on the northern face where solar overheating is not an issue.
The office is served from the existing northern core of Gateway House by a series of link bridges which creates a dynamic, 8 storey high atrium linking the entrance to the upper most floor.
The gym offers a destination building, bringing 24 hour a day footfall to the rear of Gateway House as a strategy to activate a forgotten area of Manchester. The main treatment of the facade is opaque glass which will illuminate the building to create a beacon for the building’s activity.