The Shelia Bird Group, The Neighbourhood and Hawkins\Brown have developed a shared vision for The Rooftop Project (atop 26 Lever Street).
To allow expansion space for The Neighbourhood’s studio (currently housed on the fourth floor of the 24 Lever Street) and to build on the success of their current initiative that offers a varied programme of semi-public events on the rooftop of 26 Lever Street, where the new expansion will be built. As well as reflecting The Neighbourhood’s personality and creative energy. The extension will create additional commercial floor space of circa 400m sq – one full floor (4th), and connected by an internal accommodation stair to the third floor. The Rooftop Project will sensitively connect back into the existing fourth floor at 24 Lever Street through existing apertures as well as reconciling interstitial spaces at third floor. External shared amenity space will be created at the rooftop level and will be served by a new/dedicated circulation.
Critically the project presents a unique opportunity to make the rooftop ‘garden’ initiative permanent; to support the community facing side of the building and provide a great event space for shared use, including dedicated WC’s, storage space, better power, lighting and servicing and potential for cover in bad weather.
“Hawkins\Brown have played a significant part in making this project viable. The various challenges of building a ‘crown’ on top of a listed building in the heart of the Northern Quarter are full of problems. Their enthusiasm has converted these problems into opportunities that have made us smile. Would I recommend them to you, definitely? Will they deliver, absolutely? And best of all they offer true value and 100% commitment to doing what is right.”
Atul Bansal Partner, Shelia Bird Group
The challenge is to create a design that is both engaging and forward thinking, to reflect the creative client base and neighbourhood, whilst balancing the sensitive heritage needs of the existing building and historic location. The proposal is sensitive to the forms, architectural detail, materiality and industrial history of the Northern Quarter and Manchester. Within its appearance the proposal celebrates its position within a historic, creative, and mixed use square, rich in variety of architectural styles, materials and details but with common themes. Its detailing and use of materials will provide a modern interpretation of Manchester’s industrial past relating to its physical and social history.
The big idea
We are engaging with the historic context, a ‘Terraced Street’ massing has been used; creating a strong and coherent form whilst respecting the existing roof conditions of the area. The proposed form is reminiscent of the historic ‘crown’ of the building (no longer evident) and presents the opportunity to reintroduce and re-imagine these architectural features. This modern interpretation of a historic roof form will incorporate traditional materials and detailing. The scale and proportion of the bays have been carefully considered, with iterations of five, six, and seven bays having been tested. Each iteration responded to different patterns within the existing elevation or fabric of 26 Lever Street. Ultimately the seven bay option was chosen to due to its deference to the existing structural grid and the aesthetic and rhythm of the windows of 26 Lever Street.