On behalf of Allied London, Purcell are restoring and adapting Manchester’s grade-II* listed London Road Fire Station into a cultural hub thriving with activity. The scheme will convert the landmark heritage building into a thriving mixed-use community development, composed of a workplace, food and beverage area, an international boutique hotel and curated leisure, event and cultural spaces.
Located on a high-profile triangular site, opposite Manchester Piccadilly, London Road Fire Station — a former Fire Station and police headquarters — has been largely unused since its closure in 1986. As part of the scheme to secure a new legacy for the building, Purcell have secured planning permission and listed building consent for its redevelopment, redesign and restoration. The design celebrates the significant historical and architectural value of the existing building – originally built in 1906 – by updating it for 21st century use.
Purcell’s design retains, where possible, the existing layout of the building’s interior, with alterations minimised in order to retain the original character and exhibit the architecture's surviving patina. Specifically, consideration has been ensured across the site to conserve the original features of the building including its brickwork, timber, stone, tiles and slate rooftop.
Restoration work includes the repair of structural red-brick and ironworks, as well as window glazing where required and the roof covering. This will improve the building’s thermal performance and sustainably safeguard its future.
The former Engine Room – one of the largest, most open spaces within the site – will be converted for commercial use, retaining the historic interior of glazed-brick walls and avoiding unnecessary partitions in order to keep the space fully open.
Workspaces will be aimed specifically at the creative industries and include open-plan units. The former police station will be converted into a gym and wellness facility, while the Coroner’s Court will be preserved and fit-out to host functions and events.
A 42-bed boutique hotel will provide accommodation in the north and east wings of the building, focused around the ground-floor entrance on Whitworth Street, with combined banqueting and conference facilities. A new-build extension of 19 additional bedrooms is proposed adjacent to the London Road internal courtyard elevation, making reference to the existing industrial fabric with metallic cladding.
A reinvigorated central courtyard forms the social heart of the new development, with contemporary interventions complementing the existing building which will sit harmoniously within the historic space. Retail, leisure and wide-ranging food and beverage options occupy the perimeter of the internal courtyard, with proposed glass canopies creating partially-covered areas for outdoor seating. External walkways at second and third floor levels will be repaired to match the existing structure and re-use sections of ironwork removed from elsewhere, where possible.
We have designed thoughtful structural solutions to some fascinating, and quite unique, problems. We worked closely with Curtins Structural Engineers to devise a structural system to prop-up and support the original cantilevered balconies and walkways to the internal elevations of the courtyard – these were originally designed as cantilevers but significant decay of the existing steelwork was causing the brick facades to ‘peel away’ from the structure. We also worked closely with the client team to determine fire and acoustic upgrades to the structure whilst retaining as much of the existing character and patina of the building as possible.