Granite® HDX: The prepainted steel that guarantees ideal corrosion protection and colour stability for the facades of Parkway Gate

This student residence consists of three 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 prepainted 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 centre, the close-knit composition of these three 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 GBP key development consists of three blocks with a commercially run, 729-bed student residence interconnected by a common ground floor with 465 m2 of retail space. Between the blocks, spiralling 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 three buildings’ external facades were built with a fast track Envirosips structural insulated panel system clad with contrasting colored Silk-Facade architectural panels of SBC HollandGroep.

The courtyard facade is composed of muted shades of Granite® HDX by ArcelorMittal - coated metal that echoes the glazed brick light wells typical of the city’s Victorian warehouses. This prepainted steel guarantees ideal corrosion protection and colour 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 on the rectangular shapes

The design was created by Ian Simpson Architects, a Manchester based architectural firm with offices in London. Established in 1987 by Ian Simpson and Rachel Haugh, Ian Simpson Architects has played an important role in the reconstruction of Manchester after the 1996 IRA bombing and they have designed several recent buildings in the city. Their architecture is generally characterised 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 facade,' 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 a new benchmark in the design of student accommodation, the development was recognised 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
  • Photographers:
    ©Darby Sawchuk, ©Daniel Hopkinson