Century Buildings

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Front Elevation
Rear Elevation
Close up rear
Side Elevation
Glass and Steel Interior
Sketch by Ben Jones April 2005
Located in Manchester’s central conservation area, this development refurbished a redundant 1960s glass-fronted office block and an adjacent Grade II listed building, creating a mixed-use scheme that restores activity and vitality to the area.

The two buildings face St Mary’s Parsonage at the front and the River Irwell to the rear.  Sited on a quiet backwater with little traffic, it was clear that these two office buildings could enjoy a new lease of life as residential space.

We designed a scheme that would transform the buildings into high quality residential accommodation with car parking in the existing 60s building being extended into the sub-basement of its neighbour.  We also added two restaurants at basement and ground floor level, acoustically separated from the apartments above.

Additional accommodation and amenities were achieved by creating two levels of penthouse units and balconies which hang over the river on the listed building and four levels of rear extension accommodation on the 60s building.  Riverside access and a walkway were introduced to allow shared use by the restaurant at lower ground level.

The listed building, built between 1905 and 1909, contained a number of interesting design features which we were keen to retain and feature: we replaced modern aluminium windows with new timber sashes in keeping with the original sash windows; the exterior terracotta detailing on the front of the building has been cleaned and repaired; the central staircase and lift area, with their green tiles, brasswork and Art Nouveau Paris Metro feel were retained and repaired; and a timber panelled boardroom at ground floor level was also retained.

Where new features were added, such as the balconies, modern circulation galleries and a two-storey glass and steel extension, we made them unashamedly contemporary, a direct but complementary contrast with the building’s original character.

We reclad the 60s building, extended the ground floor with a glass-shaped wedge to house a restaurant, emphasised the buffer area between the two buildings using darker colours and added a rooftop extension as a series of glass pavilions.

Overall, this scheme creates a vibrant and safe environment that is busy at all times of the day, thanks to the riverside walkway and restaurant features.

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Century Buildings
Century Buildings
Manchester, M3 2DE


Crest Nicholson


2004 RIBA National Housing Design Awards - Runner-Up

2003 Manchester Civic Society Awards -  Winner for the Victorian City Design Awards

2000 RIBA National Housing Design Awards - Runner-Up

2000 Manchester City Council - presented for Built in Quality Award


RIBA Stages

Proposed use

Site history

St Mary’s Parsonage, Grade II Listed building

Site area


Gross internal area


Number of dwellings




Plot ratio


Construction value


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