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AT ROOFTOP STREET AND RIVER LEVEL, the makeover of Manchester continues...

SEEN FROM THE ARNDALE CENTRE CAR PARK the Royal Exchange tower remains unaltered in a changing skyline. To the right is No 1 Deansgate with its sloping roof. Beyond it, under construction on the Salford side of the River Irwell is the Edge apartment complex by Countryside Properties, also with a sloping roof.

EWM says: Modern architecture appears to be very trend-driven. First Urbis and No1 Deansgate have sloping roofs, now everyone seems to want one!

NEW CATHEDRAL ST was created as part of the reconstruction of the bomb-damaged area near Corporation Street. The new M&S building is on the right, facing the Shambles West retail development with its high-tech 'squashed cylinder' style corner towers. The new Harvey Nichols store is at the end of Cathedral Street on the left.

EWM says: Everywhere I look these days there are terracotta tiles, which in my opinion are not much better than the much-maligned yellow tiles of the Arndale Centre. They often sit unevenly, don't weather well and introduce a new element of uniformity to the cityscape.

THE MURKY RIVER IRWELL is portrayed here in the style of a photograph from the turn of the century. In fact this shot was taken in 1997, not long before the construction of the Urbis Centre which now rises above Chetham's School beyond the former Exchange Station bridge. To the left are the old GPO offices, shortly to be converted into the Tempus apartment complex. A new residential tower will appear off to the left, and the old building will refurbished, retaining its original features.

EWM says: It's reassuring and gratifying to see our city's Victorian buildings, even the less famous ones, being cherished and restored by sensitive developers. Unfortunately not all developers are as sensitive and foresighted as this.


THE NEW HACIENDA APARTMENT COMPLEX by Crosby Homes rises up above the railway viaduct from Oxford Rd Station, with the Ropeworks development on the left, and part of GMEX straight ahead.

EWM says: Two major apartment developments stand at the main gateway route into Manchester from the south. Both feature different and contrasting design approaches. Are these structures fitting

THE HACIENDA RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT is being marketed using the extraordinary brand value of Manchester's most famous night club, which closed in 1997. The new development is more than double the height of the original building, providing optimum use of this prized piece of Manchester real estate, as well as great views.

EWM says: The architects of the Hacienda building have paid tribute to the older building by reproducing its curved facade. But for me it only serves to underline how much less attractive the new building is, compared to the old one, which for me was a quintessential part of Manchester.

We continue our Autumn 2003 walk past a selection of Manchester's construction sites in the second and concluding part of this feature, with a look at a much more promising development by Crosby Homes on Cheetham Hill Road and a range of other new developments. I ruminate on the reasons why so many apartment complexes are being built next to water, and on the issue of respect for the city created by our ancestors. Online soon.


All photos and articles © Aidan O'Rourke

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