|THINGS ARE HAPPENING in and around Manchester's Millennium Quarter, that's the area around the Cathedral, Chetham's School, Exchange Square and the Urbis Centre. The Urbis Centre is the Museum of the Modern City, a bold and futuristic building full of exhibits on the theme of the modern city - or at least, it will be when it opens later in 2002. The wedge-shaped Urbis Centre is echoed by another glass structure with a sloping roof just two minutes away at the bottom of Deansgate. Both buildings are designed by the same architect Ian Simpson. Let's take a walk around the Millennium Quarter and see how things are looking in January 2002.|
A FUTURISTIC ALL-GLASS STRUCTURE
has appeared on Corporation Street. We are standing next to the Co-op
bank, looking along Corporation Sreet towards Exchange Square. Next to
a grimy but characterful Victorian building, a wall of blue-green glass
rises up like a cliff face from street level. The roof of this bizarre
but strangely beautiful building is at an angle, like a ski-slope. At
the very top of the building a large needle pokes horizontally into the
URBIS CENTRE roof climbs steeply from just above street level up to a point
overlooking the new Exchange Square and the rest of city centre Manchester.
Here we are looking from Old Millgate, just next to Victoria Station and
Chetham's School. The Urbis Centre was commissioned by Manchester City Council,
and designed by Ian Simpson. A distinctive feature of the building is the
roof, installed by Chester-based company Varla UK.
EWM says: The roof looks like a launch ramp for UFO's. I can imagine them being prepared for take off at the bottom, then shooting out over Manchester at 4000 mph. Alternatively, this could function as a ski slope like the one in Rossendale.
THE URBIS CENTRE is seen here
in January 2002 just a few months from completion. The Urbis Centre stands
on the site of the Lancaster Arcade, demolished in the early 60's. In
the distance we can see the Arndale Tower, and further away to its left,
Piccadilly Plaza Sunley Building.
WE ARE STANDING IN FRONT OF
MANCHESTER CATHEDRAL on Victoria Street, looking towards Deansgate. Once
a busy junction of five streets overlooked by the statue of Cromwell,
this point in the city centre was transformed by 60's and 70's redevelopment,
and once again today by the rebuilding of the city centre.
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