A new commercial community

A sensitive refurbishment and extension of a former industrial warehouse in Manchester City Centre.

Our client Bluefig Investments wanted to create a new home for creative enterprise at 53-55 Mosley Street when the previous tenant’s occupancy came to an end. It needed to be flexible, offering various modes of working in order to support a creative and vibrant community.

Mosley Street is a key route between Piccadilly Gardens and St Peter’s Square. 53-55 was constructed in the 1850s and over its 150-year lifespan has had a number of uses including a warehouse, calico printers, a building society and a language school. It is sandwiched between the Grade II* Listed Portico Library and the recently refurbished Citygate office.

Our design for Calico responds to the history of the building and its surrounding heritage context, while creating new, contemporary interventions which distinguish the space as a high quality workplace offer in Manchester City Centre

The big idea

The existing facade was simple and utilitarian with regular window openings and subtle stone and brick detailing. The existing internal layout was extremely compromised allowing very little natural light into floor plates, in addition to compromised head heights.

Our challenge was to improve this through sensible and modest refurbishment and restoration. By relocating the building’s core into the centre of the floorplate we have been able to maximise the amount of natural light entering the workspace, as well as provide a well proportioned flexible workspace.

Calico now provides 1,510 sqm of flexible workspace across the five original storeys, in addition to the new two storey roof extension. The clear distinction between the original fabric and new interventions celebrates a new period in the building’s history, while recognising its former use as an industrial warehouse. A mixed palette of materials has been carefully placed and proportioned to provide colour, texture and detail.

“Businesses today are looking for more from the places they work in – character, soul and being part of a community of like-minded people. Calico delivers on this, right in the heart of the city’s business district.

We look forward to welcoming Manchester’s brightest talent into our community.”

Faris Mousa Bluefig Investments (UK) Ltd

The small detail

The entrances are inviting, animated, well connected and better engage with the surrounding streetscape. The Mosley Street entrance has new ‘shop front’ glazing that creates high quality frontage and improved accessibility onto the street. A welcoming reception area, designed in collaboration with local artist Lazerian provides shared tenant amenity and facilities for small scale events.

A secondary entrance has also been provided onto Back George Street, with private access to the duplex workspace across ground and lower ground. The upper floors are all accessed via the new core that clusters an upgraded lift, new stairs, superloos and a kitchenette.

The new fourth floor includes additional shared amenities in the form of a small co-work lounge and external terrace with views of St Peters Square. The rooftop extension has been designed to create a contemporary and monolithic backdrop to The Portico Library. The highly reflective pleated glazing playfully mirrors the immediate skyline; the reflection varies daily, providing a façade that is different day by day.

Project Summary

  • Project name: Calico (53 - 55 Mosley Street)
  • Location: Manchester, UK
  • Sector: Workplace
  • Value: Circa £2m
  • Type: Refurbishment , Extension
  • Client: Bluefig Investments (UK) Ltd
  • Status: Complete
  • Completion date: 2022

Project Team

Project Manager: CINNS Limited
Structural / Civic Engineer: HBL Associates
MEP: Hulley and Kirkwood
Fire Engineer: Omega Fire Limited
Planning Consultant: Paul Butler Associates

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