Rethinking a maligned housing format.
The existing primary structure of these 13 storey tower blocks built in the 1960s has been retained and re-enveloped with a timber faced pressure laminate rainscreen over a structurally insulated panel system (SIPS). Through incorporating the balconies as part of the living rooms, and introducing floor to ceiling windows that wrap around the corners offering impressive views, the original identity of the towers is rejuvenated. The randomly positioned windows create a series of shifting elevations, which never quite settle into a single fixed composition.
Working with leading landscape practice Gross Max, Union North have redescribed an area of inner city Manchester creating high demand in an area that has suffered decades of stigma and depopulation. The 3 towers and their associated landscape form an early step in redescribing the inner city. While a more inclusive early vision of city centre residential living has become an affluent residential monoculture, the promise of affordability, diversity, amenity and proximity is waiting on the fringe.
The project is seen as a beacon of regeneration for Collyhurst. With bold signage installations perched on top of the re-clad buildings announcing their presence to the city.