Following the completion of the New Bailey Zone masterplan, we were commissioned to design an ascending series of residential blocks along the riverfront as the first buildings you encounter on crossing the river into Salford. A key objective was the creation of a lively new community that encouraged mobility, interaction and civic pride. The development has regenerated the former brownfield site into a sustainable, vibrant place where people want to live.
The masterplan set out a flexible framework for how the site could be developed, establishing maximum quanta of accommodation, storey heights and building footprints. All three blocks were arranged on the site at right angles to the river to maximise views across the River Irwell and Manchester City Centre from all apartments while landscaping between the blocks provides high quality public realm.
With 40% of the façade glazed, the impressive views over the important riverside elevation and maximised natural daylight combine to promote a sense of wellbeing. This also enables greater energy efficiency, helping to minimise expenditure on heating the homes within each block.
It was essential in designing the blocks that they integrated the site back into the urban grain, creating connections to surrounding places such as Middlewood Locks, New Bailey Zone B and Manchester’s St John’s on the opposite side of the Irwell.
The surrounding landscape was designed to maximise provision of green space, excellent public transport links and pedestrian access improve both local air quality and resident’s health and wellbeing.
Together the three blocks form a new neighbourhood, with the sense of community furthered by shared spaces such as a gym, residents’ lounge, communal outdoor seating and private dining area.
The apartments were designed primarily as a cost-effective alternative to Manchester city centre while maintaining a high standard of quality and design that would appeal to a more diverse range of residents.
A key feature of the architecture is the use of quality, durable materials that provide longevity and meet a variety of occupational demands. Both traditional and open plan layouts focus on maximising the sense of space and allow the available budget to be concentrated on high quality materials.
The modular façade solution on a 600mm horizontal grid enabled us to develop a number of standardised components - terracotta and metal panels, windows and balcony doors.
The buildings are designed with efficient energy systems, highly insulated walls and an array of rooftop photo-voltaic panels to minimise expenditure on fuel for residents. It is intended that the highly sustainable development provides homes for many future generations with minimal service charges.
Al Bahr Towers Selected For International Architecture Award
11 SEPTEMBER 2014
Building Awards: BIM Initiative Finalists
22 JULY 2016