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View along Lever Street

View along Great Ancoats Street


Located in a prominent position within Manchester’s vibrant Northern Quarter neighbourhood, we’ve designed a heritage-led Tech Hub for client Soller. Through extensive consultation with the City Council, key stakeholder groups and the public, the design for “NXQ” carefully retains and restores key heritage assets on the site while being respectful to its historic neighbours, particularly the Grade II listed Daily Express Building.

NXQ will deliver new high-quality, healthy workspace and active ground floor uses, including a restaurant and café, which will animate the surrounding streets. These spaces are all accessed via a new publicly accessible courtyard at the heart of the development, providing a green oasis set back from the pavement of an otherwise busy thoroughfare in the city.

The new Tech Hub building promotes active travel and wellbeing throughout the design, including a new cycle hub and fitness studio. The intelligent façade uses deep fins for solar shading and incorporates opening windows for mixed-mode ventilation, circulating fresh air whilst helping to cool the building naturally.

Director Adam Desborough, who is leading the project, said, “Our adaptive re-use of an existing block will deliver a new Tech Hub which pays homage to the exceptional Art Deco “Streamline Moderne” Express Building, alongside the careful and measured retention and restoration of historic buildings and facades along Lever Street.”

The design of NXQ aims to provide a signpost for the Northern Quarter. Adam explains, “The cantilevered structure is achieved using an efficient raking column, which creates an interesting dynamic with the historic buildings. It is a striking design, which embraces the unique character of the area and will provide a distinctive silhouette which the city can be proud of.”

Across the retained and new buildings with associated flexible ground floor uses, the scheme will deliver 17,300 sq m GIA floorspace which provides a healthy, welcoming commercial hub to attract and nurture the best creative, digital and tech organisations.

Following approval and once on site, the building is due to be completed by 2027/2028.

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