Hardman Square Pavilion stands at the heart of Spinningfields, Manchester’s busy commercial district, yet this new building is utterly unlike the surrounding metallic and glass towers;
the structure is timber, an exposed glulam frame which is clad with timber weatherboards overlaid with planting.
Hardman Square Pavilion stands at the heart of Spinningfields, Manchester’s busy commercial district, yet this new building is utterly unlike the surrounding metallic and glass towers; the structure is timber, an exposed glulam frame which is clad with timber weatherboards overlaid with planting. This use of natural materials is enhanced and complemented by its setting in Hardman Square, a large public space which has been newly landscaped. Trees, plants and wildflower verges have created a ‘green oasis’ lined with paths and seats where office workers can pause to enjoy their verdant surroundings. ‘We were after a building that was different from the rest of Spinningfields and acted as a natural counterpoint to the glass and metal used on the adjacent blocks’, explains Neal Allen-Burt, partner at Sheppard Robson Architects.
‘The structure’s green skin underlines both physical and visual connections between the landscape and the building. Greened façades, including that of the roof, link views from both the low and elevated positions. Both those using the building or the public space are intrinsically connected and not mutually excluded.’
The Pavilion – four-storeys with a roof terrace – provides a permanent venue for The Ivy, a high-end restaurant and bar. The ground floor is a bar and brasserie, the first floor a private dining room, the second floor an Asian restaurant, and the roof is used for entertainment and events. The design both echoes and contrasts with adjacent offices. Like the commercial buildings alongside, the structural frame is expressed on the façades as a dominant grid, but in this case the grid is of glulam timber and large diagonal steel bracing members. Within this grid the façade is a complex combination of glazing and horizontal larch weatherboarding, superimposed with planters of cascading greenery, designed as a ‘veil that wraps over and softens the urban form’. The use of timber creates a façade of warmth and variety in a business district dominated by a more sombre selection of façade materials.
In plan the building is an elongated rectangle with part of the long east elevation extending at ground floor level in the form of a glazed bay from which diners can look out over the square. On the gable ends of the building, the upper floors cantilever over the ground floor and on the north side this acts as a generous shelter for the main entrance to the restaurant. The cantilevered floors above are articulated at each level by the diagonal bracing.