Following an invited design competition, One Manchester appointed OMI Architects to develop a scheme for a site in Hulme, a neighbourhood on the southern edge of Manchester city centre. The brief called for a PRS apartment development of high design quality that would have a beneficial effect on the local environment and the quality of life of the community being served – whilst at the same time being commercially viable.
As a landlord with an established base and stock in Hulme, One Manchester has invested heavily in the area and was determined to ensure this development strengthened the neighbourhood, with integration between existing and new residents being central to the vision for the scheme. To this end, care has been taken not to over-develop the site but to create housing of a scale in-keeping with surrounding homes. A strong emphasis has been placed on the well being of residents through a focus on daylighting, landscape, generous private and communal external spaces and sustainability.
Hulme is a Manchester neighbourhood with a proud history and thriving creative scene that this scheme becomes a part of. The neighbourhood’s history is recognised in the name Baker Place which was inspired by Shirley Baker, a photographer best known for her street photography and street portraits in working class areas of Manchester, particularly around Hulme in the 1950s and 60s. The development comprises a total of 67 apartments contained within three buildings, ranging in height from four to five storeys, arranged around a landscaped communal courtyard, glimpsed in fragments through a mature tree line retained along the main road adjacent to the site.
The site contained an unusually high number of obstructions, both at ground level in the form of mature trees, and perhaps more significantly below ground in the form of a series of significant storm water, highways and foul sewers, along with underground telecoms services. These constraints informed the location of the proposed buildings. The arrangement of the blocks presents active frontages onto each of the surrounding streets, creating a secure, urban edge to the development, reinforcing the public realm. Each block is served by a generous central stair and lift core, which opens out onto both the street and the courtyard, animating both and providing opportunities for chance encounters between residents.
Gable ends open out onto generous balconies supported by precast concrete frames, adding drama to the ends of blocks. Room sized balconies are staggered between floors and cantilever past the precast frame, maximising daylight and contact with the sky and creating genuinely usable external spaces for residents.
Detailing is carefully crafted and the palette of materials is purposefully simple and robust; a buff textured brick broken up by natural precast concrete string courses, with smooth faced black brick detailing to enrich the patterns and texture of the facades.
CLIENT – One Manchester STATUS – Completed COMPLETION DATE – March 2018 VALUE – £7.5M LOCATION – Hulme, Manchester TEAM: Structural Engineer Renaissance Mechanical Engineer Max Fordham Landscape Architect UBU Design Quantity Surveyor Simon Fenton Partnership Main Contractor Engie (formerly Keepmoat)