Southway Housing Trust, Manchester
Transforming an existing office into an activity based headquarters

Southway Housing Trust

Location: Didsbury, Manchester
Value: Undisclosed
Size: 21,000 sqft (GIA)
Programme: May 2017 - July 2018
Service: Architecture & Interiors
Typology: Workplace

Felix Mooneeram

In May 2017, 5plus were commissioned to produce a feasibility study for the Southern Gate site for client, Southway Housing Trust. From this initial feasibility process, a scheme was developed into a full planning application.

The brief was to develop a high quality internal fit-out, new entrance extension plus associated landscape areas. A key driver within the brief was to provide a future-proofed and environmentally friendly building which is flexible in terms of workspace and future technologies.

The client requested a ‘no compromise’, contemporary office that reflects the principles of the business: openness, honesty and ambition. Consequently, from the outset, the building has been designed with their specific requirements in mind and was facilitated through extensive stakeholder engagement. This took many forms, including; workshops, meetings and briefing/presentation sessions.

Through analysis of Southway and its staff, we developed a spatial budget indicating the need to accommodate all employees. We also reviewed the typical work settings that occur within a flexible and agile office. This research has collectively informed the layout of the floor plates.

Our proposals increase the ground floor accommodation and core reception space to 707sqm (GIA), including a 40sqm entrance extension, addressing the gateway location. The upper floors remain largely the same in terms of area.

With a focus on sustainability, we have concentrated on a betterment of the existing fabric and raising the EPC Rating where we’ve achieved a 50% improvement across the refurbishment.

To support workplace health and wellbeing, we have also advocated the implementation and measurement following the Well Standard certification principles throughout the office building.