Granite® HDX: the pre-painted steel that guarantees ideal corrosion protection and colour stability for the façades of Parkway Gate

This student residence consists of 3 blocks rising from a common ground floor with commercial spaces. Designed by Ian Simpson Architects, this new complex with its unique visual concept contributes to the Manchester skyline. Granite HDX® coated steel was used for the cladding facing the courtyard: this pre-painted steel guarantees ideal corrosion protection and colour stability in harsh environmental conditions.

Detailed information

Situated at Mancunian Way, a key gateway and the natural boundary to the progressive expansion of the Manchester city-center, the close-knit composition of these 3 buildings forming Parkway Gate was developed in consultation with the City Council and constitutes an important component in the master plan that will govern this urban edge.

The £40 million key development consists of 3 blocks with a commercially run, 729 bed student residence, interconnected by a common ground floor with 5 000 sq ft (retail space. Between the blocks, spiraling in height from 13 to 17 storeys, a central courtyard for the residents was created. The ground floor consists of two glazed podium spaces containing the reception, management suite and commercial spaces.

Metal cladding system

Each of the 3 buildings’ external facades were built up with a fast track Envirosips structural insulated panel system, clad with contrasting colored Silk-Facade architectural panels of SBC HollandGroep.

The courtyard-façade is composed of muted shades of Granite® HDX by ArcelorMittal - coated metal that echo the glazed brick light wells typical of the city’s Victorian warehouses. This pre-painted steel guarantees ideal corrosion protection and color stability in harsh environmental conditions.

The building envelope was designed and installed, ahead of schedule and well within budget, by European Sheeting Ltd.

The design: irregular colours of the rectangular shapes

The design was created by Ian Simpson Architects, a Manchester based architectural study with offices in London established in 1987 by Ian Simpson and Rachel Haugh, that has played an important role in the reconstruction of Manchester after the 1996 IRA bombing and is the author of several recent buildings of the city. Their architecture is generally characterized by its sculptural forms; this new project particularly stands out visually due to its irregular colouring of the rectangular grid of glazed curtain walls.

Whereas their similar forms, the “language of the façade” and the courtyard elevation unify the complex, the different, contrasting materials used for the cladding provide each block with a certain individuality.

The project is a key development in the urban regeneration on this edge of Manchester’s city centre, situated right next to the elevated urban motorway Mancunian Way in an area of uninspired low cost housing.

As a landmark of high architectural integrity and new benchmark in the design of student accommodation, the development was recognized with several awards:

Best Residential Development 2008  N.W. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Large Scale Residential Award 2009  Manchester Society of Architects (MSA)
Overall MSA Award 2009  Manchester Society of Architects (MSA)

Project Information

  • Manchester
  • United Kingdon
  • Architect:
    Ian Simpson Architects
  • 2001 - 2003
  • Client:
    Downing Property Group
  • Photographer:
  •  ©Darby Sawchuk, ©Daniel Hopkinson