Corn Exchange, Manchester
Connecting a heritage asset back to the city

Client
Aviva

Overview
Location: Manchester
Size: 21,300 sqm
Value: £23 million (Phases I & II)
Programme:
Phase I 2011 - 2015
Phase II 2014 - February 2018
Service: Architecture

Awards
2018 AJ Retrofit, Shortlisted
2016 AJ Retrofit, Shortlisted
2015 BCSC Gold, Winner

Photography
Adrian Lambert
Simon Buckley

The Corn Exchange is a Grade II Listed, landmark building in Manchester City Centre. Originally designed for and used as a corn and produce exchange, the building was badly damaged by the 1996 IRA bomb. The building was repaired and reopened as the Triangle Shopping Centre in the early 2000s. Isolated from the main shopping area at the time, the building ran with steadily declining success with a handful of restaurants fronting Exchange Square bucking the trend.

5plus  were appointed by building owner Aviva and Development Managers Queensberry to deliver transformational proposals for the building. The brief, developed with the client, built on the success of the restaurants at ground floor and proposed a new hotel use for the upper floors.

Phase I
This phase focused on creating a dining destination for 19 bars and restaurants.

The structure of the internal atrium and the original trading floor has been reinstated. New column heads, concealed displacement vents, yorkstone flooring and signature gates are introduced to bring life and texture back to the building.

The central atrium, with the magnificent glazed dome has become a covered external dining area for the restaurants. At first floor the restaurants trade up to the column line that runs around the atrium, allowing diners to occupy the space around the perimeter of the atrium.

The interior of the atrium has been refurbished to create a high quality, welcoming environment attractive to potential operators and their customers.

A connection between Exchange Square to Cathedral Gardens has been retained, albeit in a revised format, to help integrate the building with the adjacent public realm and connect it back to the city.

In order to achieve active frontage on the North side of the building – two frameless glazed boxes have been created. External seating is proposed to all sides to further animate the frontages.

Phase II
The second, third, fourth and fifth floors have been converted from commercial offices into a 114 bedroom aparthotel for the hotel operator Roomzzz. The room types respond to the unconventional floorplate and the structural constraints inherent in a building of this age that has been extensively modified over the years.

The rooms range from compact, en-suite double bedrooms through to dual aspect penthouse apartments. The building’s turret has also been transformed into a unique new guest room.

Additional facilities for hotel guests include a gymnasium, management suite and the hotel lobby/reception with breakfast service and a lounge area accessible from the building’s central atrium.

The interiors scheme responds to and complements the Grade II listed building, whilst also meeting the aspirations of the hotel operator.

Working with Roomzzz to develop a tailored ‘Design Manual’, the hotel operator’s brand identity and established aesthetic has been adapted to work with and complement the original heritage features of the building. Features such as glazed Victorian wall tiles, terrazzo flooring, decorative wrought iron railing and mahogany balustrades have been retained, sensitively refurbished and reintroduced into the design to create a unique aparthotel offer.

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