The Hive, Manchester
An award winning office building for a unique market

Client
Argent Group PLC

Overview
Location: Manchester
Value: £11.5 million
Size: 110,000 sqft
Programme: 2005 – 2009
Service: Architecture

Photography:
Adrian Lambert & Simon Buckley

Awards
2012 Prime Property, Finalist
2011 BCO Regional, Winner
2011 BREEAM, Winner
2008 MIPIM AR Future Project Awards

An exemplar sustainable speculative development, demonstrating that those in the property business are also in the energy business. In 2005 Argent Estates invited us to undertake a feasibility study for three sites adjacent to Stevenson Square, Manchester.

The initial commission was to provide a development framework which was agreeable to Manchester City Council and adjacent land owners. This soon developed into masterplanning the site and the design and delivery of the largest building on the site, The Hive.

The Hive is a pioneering building, providing speculative office space aimed at the creative industries. The building is not a corporate headquarters. It is a simple, kickable, flexible building which immerses itself in the home of the creative industries in the North West of the UK – The Northern Quarter.

Office rental levels are lower in The Northern Quarter than in other city centre locations in Manchester and therefore the build cost needed to be lower in response.

The sustainable agenda evolved from a thorough understanding of the commercial limitations of the project and transforming these into the building’s greatest asset. The simplest way of making a building cheaper is to make it smaller. However we could not make the building smaller in plan because the plan drives value.

  • We made the building smaller in section by omitting the M+E zone and the ceiling.
  • Exposed concrete slabs within the office areas utilise the radiant cooling of raw concrete.
  • Introducing narrow floorplates aids natural ventilation of the office space.
  • Finally, in order to mitigate excessive solar gain, we created a solid façade with 40% openings to maximise daylight penetration internally whilst reducing capital costs.

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