The Victorian ‘Palazzo’ design implicit in the Peter Street front façade of the Free Trade Hall had never been fully realised in plan form. The completed 263 bed 5 star hotel addresses this matter by creating a classically proportioned block from the main Victorian facades accommodating the appropriate large volume rooms within. A cleared site to Windmill Street was formed to allow a 15 storey contemporary block to be constructed, principally clad in stone and glass.
A lightweight triangular glass atrium using glass purlins and minimal lightweight trusses provides a unifying structure between the two blocks, allowing the individual architecture and functional identity of both blocks to be fully realised.
A steel frame supports the retained Victorian façade spanning the large function spaces behind. A secret wintergarden is created behind the windowless upper levels of the retained façade allowing daylight into two levels of business suites. The contemporary 15 storey block has a concrete structure.
Planning restraints limited the contemporary block height to reduce its impact on the Victorian façade, whilst commercial pressure required increased accommodation to assure viability. Such design constraints however, have helped produce a hotel with extremely efficient use of space which is ‘user friendly’ with an intimate ambience. The dramatic central atrium space forms the central focal point and orientates users.
The completed hotel is congruous with both the newly created civic status of the area, and the aspirations of modern day Manchester.
Images copyright Daniel Hopkinson.