Society, Manchester
New multi-kitchen restaurant / bar regenerating a forgotten city centre canal basin.

Location. Manchester
Client. AEW / Pop City
Value. £1.1 million
Service. Architecture
Size. 6,600 sqft
Status. Completed 2021

Tom Bird

As part of our work at Barbirolli Square we were appointed to design an exciting new restaurant in the old canal side Pitcher & Piano unit. This is a key placemaking opportunity to re-activate an underused space which is a quiet haven in the heart of the city.

Initially we stripped the unit back to its shell state, with its impressive double-height concrete frame. The early briefing process identified that a multi-kitchen food hall style offer would be an exciting addition to the southern side of the city and that the waterside unit offered a unique setting to become a key focal point for residents and workers alike.

To maximise the internal dining area, we created a rear extension to increase service space, infilling a disused loading bay. We designed a new openable façade to replace the original single glazed façade, improving the thermal and acoustic performance of the unit.

Internally we created five independent kitchens and a main bar with an interconnected cocktail bar, as well as a new mezzanine which takes advantage of the tallest end of the unit, creating a focal point for live music performances below. Different seating zones for dining, drinking and lounging provide variety to the space which has capacity for up to 695 people.

Externally the new slimline aluminium glazing gives the façade a contemporary upgrade and a re-orientated entrance addresses the square above to improve the arrival sequence to the restaurant. The new external seating area provides much needed activity to the canal basin.

The scheme received planning approval in March 2020 and completed in 2021.