Set in the heart of Manchester’s Castlefield Conservation Area the site straddles the northwest corner of the former Roman Fort. Adjacent reconstructions of fragments of the outer walls identify the fort’s earlier existence. The dominant Victorian viaducts opposite, present another historic layer that imposes a scale and visual language that is a fundamental part of the identity of Castlefield today.
The ‘top-of-the-hill’ position was a vantage point exploited by the Roman Fort. It is also at the point where the geometry of two street patterns converges. The building fundamentally exploits the site’s prominence and landmark status whilst resolving the geometry on plan.
The external materials are clearly contemporary, yet the density and complexity suggest the characteristics of an ancient citadel. It is an appropriate language, linking the new with the old. It can be seen as a tight cluster of buildings, of differing heights, which climb the hill and support a series of inhabited terraces.
Issues of urban design, respect for history and the desire to stimulate the long-term evolution of Castlefield through its re-population and reinforcement of its identity have driven this solution.