Axis, Manchester
An elegant building on an (almost) impossible site

Property Alliance Group

Location: Manchester
Value: £30 million
Programme: 2005 – 2020
Service: Architecture

Axis sits at the junction of Whitworth Street and Albion Street. The site is a key gateway site from South Manchester and Manchester Airport.

The site occupies a unique position, surrounded by Victorian infrastructure. The Rochdale Canal, Central Station, elevated trainlines and undercroft structures. It sits on a busy, bustling transport exchange in a vibrant, evolving quarter of Manchester.

Our response to this gateway site and its rich context is a slender, striking building . The role of this building in the city is a gateway building and therefore the Axis tower is unashamedly assertive.

Axis rises from a small site sandwiched between the Rochdale Canal and Trafford Street. Various constraints around the site result in the site area being extruded up to second floor. At this point the building cantilevers out by approximately 3m on each side. The larger floorprint then rises a further 25 levels. Raking columns facing the Rochdale Canal clasp the upper floors.

The structural honesty is a fundamental part of the building’s form both internally and externally. The result is a triangular blade of a building of striking proportions.

The building’s height (92.6m from lower ground level) is representative of the limits of engineering achievable from the site. We have maximised the structural design, fire engineering design and cladding design to create an uber efficient, slender form. This efficiency is important environmentally, commercially and contextually.