Refurbishment work begins at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Grosvenor West Building
Work has commenced onsite at Manchester Metropolitan University on the refurbishment of its Grade II listed Grosvenor West Building, the historic home of Manchester School of Art.
The university appointed Cassidy + Ashton as lead architect and heritage architect on the project alongside Conlon Construction as the main contractors.
Conlon Construction is delivering the ‘life cycle’ project refurbishment, designed by Cassidy + Ashton which comprises fabric repairs to the exterior brick and stonework, roof and rooflights, as well as adding secondary glazing to improve insulation properties.
The work also includes enhancing accessibility, inclusivity, upgrading and replacing internal heating and lighting systems, and maintaining, enhancing and reintroducing the original heritage assets, all of which sets out to preserve the 141-year-old building and ensure it meets the needs of the school’s next generation of art and design students.
Manchester School of Art is the UK’s second oldest art school and spans a number of buildings on the Manchester Metropolitan campus, including Grosvenor West and the Benzie Building. The historic Grosvenor West Building also houses the Holden Gallery, a public gallery situated at the heart of the building, which has functioned as a gallery since the building was extended in 1898. Designed by George Tunstal Redmayne, with the later rear addition by Joseph Gibbons Sankey, the School of Art has hosted notable names such as Walter Crane, Sylvia Pankhurst, Adolph Valette and LS Lowry.
Work onsite is underway, following the alteration of other buildings on campus to create additional temporary accommodation for the Manchester School of Art, and the project is due to complete in spring 2024.
Simon Barlow, associate architect from Cassidy + Ashton, said: “I feel very proud that Cassidy + Ashton was once again selected by the Manchester Metropolitan University to carry out work to another of their listed assets. This is a substantial project that will not only draw on our experience as heritage architects, but on our enthusiasm and dedication to play a part in conserving and promoting heritage properties and making them fit for the next generation of people that will use them.
“It is a privilege to be part of a project and team that will preserve a monumental building that has inspired creative thinking ever since it was opened in 1881. The university is very proud of the history behind Grosvenor West Building, and we will be continuing to work closely with them to ensure it continues to excite and motivate artists and designers of the future.”
Conlon Construction’s commercial director, Darren Lee, said: “With strong experience in education and heritage builds, we are delighted to be working alongside Manchester Metropolitan’s Estates Team once again, having recently completed the adjacent Grade II listed Ormond Building.
“The plans are exciting and carefully considered, and the end result promises to be something very special. This is a place with a prestigious legacy that, with our help, will celebrate the features and history of the building, transforming it into an efficient and motivating place to study and garner inspiration for years to come.”
Professor Martyn Evans, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Arts and Humanities at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Manchester School of Art has a proud and important legacy in our city, and its historic home in the listed Grosvenor Building is central to that. We are pleased to be working with Conlon Construction and Cassidy + Ashton to preserve and refresh this inspiring space, so that it can continue to nurture future generations of artists, designers and makers.”
Cassidy + Ashton was appointed to the project through the Procure Partnerships Professional Services Framework, while Conlon Construction was procured through the North West Construction Hub High Value Framework.
Manchester School of Art is an innovator in art and design education in the UK. Established to provide design training to the manufacturing industry, the school offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses still very much influenced by the demands of industry to provide students with the essential skills and knowledge for their chosen careers.