Architecture studio Sheppard Robson has remodelled the New Century Hall music venue in Manchester, restoring and exploring the areas into hospitality spaces.
The Creative College occupies the basement, with the food hall at ground floor level and the music venue above, framed by the exposed concrete columns and coffered ceilings of the original structure. The food hall’s kitchen was designed in collaboration with Sheila Bird Studio.
“Through careful and minimal intervention at New Century, we have been able to bring a challenging building back to life,” said associate partner at Sheppard Robson, Richmal Wigglesworth. “Though the scheme has three distinct uses, fortifying the links between them has resulted in a symbiotic relationship – it’s great to see the natural relationship between the creative college and the venue hall and how they benefit from each other,” they added.
In the performance hall, original murals on either side of the stage designed by artists Alan Boyson and Steven Sykes have been kept in place, repaired and cleaned, and the original, angular acoustic baffle panels that cover the ceiling have been restored and rewired.
“The overall approach was minimal intervention, due to the listed nature of the structure but also because it didn’t really need much intervention to function,” said Wigglesworth. “The ground floor and basement areas were stripped back to the concrete frame exposing the waffle slab structure…there was a desire from the tenants and the city council to leave the concrete exposed, and we were more than happy to oblige!” she added.
Originally designed by architects George Tait and G S Hay, the building was constructed in 1963 as a conference centre for the Cooperative Wholesale Society. At night, the hall played host to acts including Jimi Hendrix, Tina Turner and The Rolling Stones.
Images by Josh Kemp-Smith courtesy of Sheila Bird Studio and Henry Woide via Dezeen
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