Flagship new art centre in central Manchester
Former brownfield site needed extensive remediation works
Careful analysis carried our to ensure exceptional acoustic performance despite built up environment
BuroHappold team used BIM to deliver complex box within a box structure
HOME leads the way for future development in the city
HOME is a flagship arts centre for a previously underused area of central Manchester. Rated BREEAM Very Good, the development incorporates a cinema, gallery, theatres and expansive café area, offering its audience a cultural experience in the heart of an inner city location. BuroHappold Engineering has provided services to bring this former brownfield site to life, creating a vibrant, innovative space that is cleverly realised while offering exceptional sustainability.
With the building footprint located on a constrained site, our engineers had to consider a number of different approaches. The land was previously a car park, and is neighboured by a masonry railway viaduct providing major transport links to Manchester, the River Medlock and several other sites currently under construction. Additionally, the existing viaduct, which was situated seven metres above ground level, combined with the busy Whitworth Street West main road located nearby, provided challenges for our acoustics team. These included potential ground borne vibration impact on the structure and compromised acoustic performance within the artistic spaces.
The building’s complex box within a box structure required innovative thinking from our team to ensure that the architectural vision would be realised. We also had to consider the movement of people across the site, ensuring the building would be safe and secure for visitors.
By carrying out analysis of the site, our team quickly identified a number of potential risks, including existing foundations, historical contamination and live utilities from buildings and transport links located nearby. Our civil engineering team worked with the existing below ground constraints and ground conditions to ensure their suitability for the new development. A underground culvert carrying the River Tib was capped and the water diverted to ensure the stability of the ground conditions, while carefully located piles were used to suit the complex underground environment. In order to guard the development from the possibility of underground gasses being released into the atmosphere, a ground floor slab gas proof membrane was installed to offer the required protection.
With the brief from the client that the space should offer tranquility in a busy urban setting, ensuring that the rail connections and traffic noise would not affect the environment within HOME was essential. The existing viaduct, which is located seven metres above ground level, and the busy Whitworth Street West main road located nearby, provided challenges for our acoustics team. These included potential ground borne vibration impact on the structure and compromised acoustic performance within the artistic spaces. Our team provided onsite testing during construction and prior to opening to ensure optimal performance.
To ensure HOME provides both an exceptional experience for visitors and a high level of safety, our Smart Space team undertook people flow modelling to establish the complex visitor arrival and departure movements for key scenarios. We identified areas that were at risk of overcrowding, as well as analysing space provision and density in the bar and foyer space during busy interval periods. Our conclusions enabled us to provide advice to the client on design of circulation elements, timing and coordination of different events in the space, use of the bar area and the location of ticket booths and temporary facilities.
Encapsulated in glass to provide reflections of the surrounding cityscape while offering the outside world glimpses into the environment within, HOME is a spectacular example of the future vision for this area of Manchester.
2016 RIBA National Awards, Win
2016 RIBA North West Awards, Win
Client: Manchester City Council
Architect: Mecanoo Architecten BV
Services provided by BuroHappold:
MEP engineering, physics modelling, lighting, civil engineering, ground engineering, sustainability and BREEAM, structural engineering, acoustic engineering, vibration engineering, fire engineering, Smart Space people flow modelling
Transforming a brownfield site into a vibrant new space for art, cinema and theatre, right in the heart of the city. Image: Mike Coooper
Our engineers had to develop cost effective, space efficient and sustainable solutions to work within the constrained footprint of the site. Image: Mike Cooper
More about HOME
When we integrate our engineering specialisms around a core theme (we call these Service Offers), the benefits to the client multiply.