Refurbishment of Smithfield Buildings

Stephenson Bell Architects, Manchester, 1998


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Deep balconies shield first floor flats from the noise of the street below 

David Grandorge (website)     Download Original

  • Deep balconies shield first floor flats from the noise of the street below    
  • The glazed rooftop pavilion and the blue infill are the only new build parts of the development    
  • Exterior of refurbished Smithfield Buildings    
  • An existing bridge links Smithfield buildings to the car park where residents are allocated space    
  • Part of the original wall has been integrated into the atrium    
  • Structural steel takes the load off the new infill    
  • The main atrium with year-round greenery in the form of black bamboo    
  • Scarlet walls and staircase    
  • Glazed roof over atrium    
  • View of apartment    
  • Site plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Roof plan    
  • Section    
  • Oldham Street elevation    
  • Tib Street elevation    
  • Exploded isometric    
  • Part-section through atrium, walkway and staircase    
  • Key plan and isometric of walkway and balustrade    

Development and refurbishment of nine buildings originally belonging to the Affleck and Brown department store

A basic plan form was developed which utilised the existing stairways, conveniently sited to provide the vertical escape provision. The stairways are linked by internal streets on three levels within two lightwells, one of which is based on a remodelled existing arcade retained from the Affleck & Brown days - both the trusses and columns which support the lightwell roof are as originally found.

The lightwell functions as a winter (and summer) garden, providing the means by which passive smoke extraction of the common spaces is achieved. It also creates a habitable room at the rear of the apartment spaces, enabling apartment interiors to be fully exploited and dual aspect in nature. The lightwell also serves as the means by which services are distributed.


  • Begun: Nov 1995
  • Completed: Mar 1998
  • Floor area: 13,000m2
  • Sectors: Residential, Retail
  • Total cost: £7.4M
  • Address: Smithfield Buildings, Tib Street , Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 1LA, United Kingdom

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