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Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

United Kingdom Architecture News - Jun 19, 2020 - 14:50   3416 views

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

Mecanoo has completed a new urban renewal housing in Manchester, United Kingdom. 

Named Hulme Living Leaf Street Housing, the 9,500-square-metre residential complex comprises 85 apartments and 20 single-family homes, design of public space and 56 parking spaces plan. 

Mecanoo formed an s-shaped layout in a single mass, creating semi-public garden spaces and internal squares to maintain the human scale, accessibility and the character of the site as it was. 

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

The area around Leaf Street in Hulme, just outside Manchester city centre, has a history of urban renewal. The typical Victorian terraced houses were demolished after World War II to make room for the infamous Hulme Crescents, the largest social housing project in the United Kingdom at the time. 

In the 1990s, the ‘Crescents’ were demolished and a large part of the neighbourhood redeveloped. Hulme Living on Leaf Street is a fourth generation urban renewal housing development that combines apartments and single-family homes in one building mass.

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

"Affordable housing was an extremely important statement of myself back in the 80’s when we started Mecanoo; that affordable housing should also be beautiful and pleasant to live in," said Francine Houben, founder of Mecanoo.

"Though we changed our focus and mapped many other typologies over the years, affordable housing was and still is as relevant as before."

"The present and the future is still about urban renewal. It’s the responsibility of the architect to address to the needs in society," added Houben. 

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

Meandering

On the south-eastern side, the plot borders the main access road to the neighbourhood and other buildings from Manchester Metropolitan University. Appropriate to this scale, the residential complex extends to five levels of apartments. The compact building volume meanders across the plot and gradually decreases in scale to the north. 

The three-storey family houses on this side of the development are on par with the adjacent 1930s dwellings. The brick building acts as a connecting element between the various structures bordering the plot.

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

Public green space

The S-shape of the building creates two semi-enclosed public green spaces. The entrance court is turned to the Hulme Arch Bridge and has the character of a garden square. Facing Leaf Street is a park area where children can play. 

The public spaces are connected to each other via large gates in the building volume, which also mark the entrances to the apartments. 

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

Many existing trees on the plot were preserved by the elegant shape of the complex. A wide variety of vegetation ensures that residents can experience all different seasons. 

Cycling paths and footpaths across the plot are connected to the existing infrastructure and informal walkways. This way, the building complex and its surrounding public space form one unified urban plan.

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

Floor plan

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

Axonometric drawing

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

East elevation

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

West elevation

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

South elevation

Mecanoo completes s-shaped urban renewal housing in Manchester

North elevation

Project facts

Programme: 9,500 m2 residential building with 85 apartments and 20 single-family homes, design of public space and 56 parking spaces 

Design: 2014-2015 

Realisation: 2016-2018 

Client: One Manchester, Manchester, UK 

Project management: R-gen, Manchester 

Structural engineer: Renaissance, Manchester 

Mechanical and electrical engineer: Max Fordham, Manchester 

Advisor acoustics: Max Fordham, Manchester 

Building costs consultant: Simon Fenton Partnership, Manchester

All images © Greg Holmes Photography

All drawings © Mecanoo

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