MadLab

Red Co-operative Ltd, Manchester, 2015

 

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Refurbishment of former weavers cottages to accommodate a digital and maker hub in Manchester's Northern Quarter

The footprint of this unassuming, serially altered set of buildings matches the one on Green’s map of Manchester from 1794. Now the hub of the city’s digital and maker renaissance, the commission was to make it safe and usable. From the discovery of the hidden, water filled cellar to the plasterboard hiding extensive structural fire damage this was a challenge for the newly set up design and build co-op that produced the project. Bespoke details abound, Red designed and made the lights, as much as possible came from within 30 miles of the site.

The cellar required draining, rotten support structure replaced, the roof sandblasted to reveal the depth of the charring then reinforced. It now has a heavily insulated ceiling exposing the original timber structure.

The front wall was repaired, internally insulated with woodfibre and lime based plaster, then fitted with timber reveals supporting triple glazed timber windows.

The open timber stairs were replaced by a new steel stair folded into one of the structural bays of the building inside an enclosure of fireproof (but unwired) glass.

The old shopfront was removed and replaced with a movable installation in two layers; one of glazed sliding security shutters in front of floor to ceiling, fold and slide doors filled with vacuum insulated panels. The air between forming part of the ventilation strategy, pre-warming and sound attenuating inlet air. This frontage enables the space to be programmed in many ways from insulated and private to fully open to the street.

Data

  • Begun: Jul 2014
  • Completed: Aug 2015
  • Floor area: 234m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £130,000
  • Funding: rentalised loan from landlord
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works
  • CO2 Emissions: 24kg/m2/year
  • Address: Manchester Digital Laboratory, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HN, United Kingdom

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