As one of England’s most influential cities, Manchester features a rich culture, great scientific output, an extensive musical scene, and successful sports clubs. Another charm of this major metropolitan centre is its outstanding architectural design.
Yes, the Manchester architectural landscape celebrated the Neo-Gothic, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the Neo-Classical styles. Later, the Industrial Revolution gave impetus to the development of modern engineering. As a result, this contributed to the emergence of multiple buildings of various shapes and styles.
If you’re a constructional guru or just like to admire unique designs, pick up an electric vehicle hire and explore the local engineering masterpieces. You can book an electric car hire at Manchester Airport on Rental24.co.uk and guarantee a car for your desired date. So, let’s take a look at the most exciting Manchester contemporary buildings in the following list.
The gorgeous Beetham Tower is an impressive 47-storey mixed-use skyscraper, completed in 2006 and named after the company commissioning the construction, Beetham Organization. Sketched by Ian Simpson, now it occupies a narrow plot of land at the top of Deansgate. With a height of almost 170 metres, it’s the tallest skyscraper in the city, the eleventh tallest building in the UK, and the first outside London.
The specific design makes it one of the thinnest skyscrapers in the world. The height-to-width ratio of this skyscraper on the east/west facades is 1:12. A razor-shaped layout on the south side of the building accentuates the skyscraper’s graceful shape and thinness. From the top floor penthouse, you can see the Cheshire Plains, the Pennines, the Peak District and Snowdonia.
Imperial War Museum North
Probably the last thing you expected was that the Military Museum could have an elaborate shape. Commonly referred to as IWM North, the museum is a unique structure housed in a stunning building in Trafford. It’s one of five Imperial War Museums in England and the very first to open in the north of the country.
The structure was designed by Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind and immediately became one of the top-visited landmarks in the area. The building is the epitome of deconstructivism, a style in which individual parts of the entire structure appear fragmented. When designing, the developer came up with the idea of showing three fragments of an imaginary broken globe. They symbolise earth, air, and water, and represent three conceptually different spaces within.
1 Angel Square
If you want to see a prime example of post-modern architecture, go see One Angel Square. The height of the building is 72 metres, and its total area is 30,500 square metres, which allows it to maintain first place in the ranking of the largest office premises in the whole of Great Britain.
One Angel Square was designed by constructors from 3D Reid. The office centre entirely consists of durable steel, which makes the structure airier. The building makes extensive use of energy-saving technology, which pursues the financially-effective distribution of natural resources.
Externally, the business centre resembles a large ship, and its upper part looks like a diagonally cut egg. Thanks to this shape, the building receives the necessary daylight during the day and accumulates solar energy for use at night.
The building’s facade is even more innovative – it includes a double layer of material that reduces heating energy costs and provides natural ventilation. In addition, a system for recycling rainwater into drinking water complements the advanced technologies applied at One Angel Square.
Designed by Ian Simpson’s Bureau, the Building was completed in 2002. It sits in the heart of the Millennium Quarter and reflects the modern rhythm of Manchester architecture.
The Urbis is striking in its appearance: no matter from which side you approach it, it immediately attracts you with its unique glass façade, consisting of more than 2,000 glasses. At the same time, the roof is made of pre-aged copper tiles. Since copper turns emerald with age (and they are already aged), the colour combination in the design looks great.
The unusual shape of the structure resembles a ski slope that seems to be deliberately built into the surrounding landscape. The southern end tapers but increases in height by 35 metres. The corner spire at the top reaches 42 metres and directs the view to the city centre. Urbis reflects the local vibe, not only in design, but also in content, featuring exhibitions of contemporary folk culture from England, and all over the globe.
Lowry Art Center
As a prime example of post-modernist design in Manchester, the Lowry Art Center provides insight into the alternative use of glass and concrete. This building has stood on Salford Quay since 2008 and continues to inspire professional constructors from all over the world.
It’s all about its progressive form. The structure features complex geometry and looks like a symbiosis of several figures: a circle, a triangle, a square, and a rectangle. If you look at it from a certain angle, you can easily see the silhouette of the ship.
You may get inside the centre from any direction. The marine theme continues in the interior. The blue mosaic floor with silver lines looks like an ocean or a map with parallels and meridians.
Lowry provides space for different types of contemporary art. It regularly hosts exhibitions by artists and photographers and serves as a stage for performances and various art-specialised shows.
The Tower of Light and Wall of Energy
Following contemporary architectural trends, Tonkin Liu Bureau has created something more than just a masterpiece. The Tower of Light and Wall of Energy is a super-efficient power plant located at the entrance to the Civic Quarter.
Based on the image of mollusc shells, the complex geometry of the power station pipes allows the structure to be as resistant to the high wind loads that are typical for England. This is all thanks to the oval shape and perforated structure.
The tower consists of flat 6-8mm-thick steel sheets that have been laser cut and welded together to create a strong and rigid oval structure. A total of eight such structures were made, which were then brought to the construction site two at a time and installed in one night.
Given its special shape, the geometry of the Tower of Light is its strength. The super-light, super-thin single-layer design required a minimum of material to be as effective as possible. The most amazing thing is that only modern construction technologies and digital design have allowed man to get closer to this wisdom of nature.
Complex geometry is characteristic not only of pipes but also of the power plant body itself. Its facade is so original that it’s called the Wall of Energy. This wall is lined with ceramic tiles that imitate a rippling water surface – the habitat of molluscs. For the facade work, the architects used 1,373 tiles of various shapes – a total of 31 types of tiles.
So, Manchester is the right place to explore modern civil engineering solutions. From fashionable art centres to social public spaces and office premises – the city is full of masterpieces of different styles, and you will get incomparable pleasure visiting local engineering highlights!
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