Specifically, the works included the creation of new teaching spaces, the conversion of cinemas into lecture theatres, the conversion of the bar/restaurant area into an IT suite, and the conversion of art spaces into offices and a dance studio. The design and build project, including all M&E works, had to be completed in time for the arrival of a new cohort of students at the start of the new academic year in September 2015.
Robert Whetham Associates (RWA) was commissioned by the project manager, Gardiner & Theobald, to carry out a design of the mechanical and electrical services on their behalf as part of the general enabling works.
Working closely with contractors Gibson and Ryan Electrical Services, we set the brief and then assisted with the various mechanical and electrical designs, going beyond what would normally have been expected on a design and build project. Wherever possible, we recommissioned elements of the existing air conditioning and heating and ventilation (HVAC) systems, thoroughly testing them to confirm the correct duties and flow rates. A substantial part of the system, nevertheless, had to be completely replaced and significant work was undertaken to ensure all services fitted into the existing fabric of the building. Having successfully supported Gardiner & Theobald previously on other projects, we were trusted to use our initiative and practical experience to deliver all M&E works in a timely and professional manner with minimal intervention.
The project was finished on time and within budget.
Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) received an energy-efficient building that met all the latest regulations and standards, fitted out with modern facilities ready for the new academic year. By converting its use, MMU helped save the iconic triangular building which had been threatened with demolition as part of plans to re-develop the wider Oxford Road area where it sits in Manchester’s city centre. The building has become the university’s hub for the performing arts, culture and media.
Meanwhile, “The Cornerhouse” visual arts centre, which used to be at 70 Oxford Road, got a new base called “Home” at Tony Wilson Place, Manchester.