Contemporary linking structure between two historic buildings, featuring a sculpted stainless steel ceiling and full-height structural glass.

2016 RIBA North West Award
2016 ICE Engineered in London Award – shortlisted

The renovation of Manchester Town Hall (Grade I Listed) and Manchester Central Library (Grade II* Listed) by SimpsonHaugh and Partners includes a new Link Entrance between the two historic structures. Conceived as an undulating, reflective stainless steel ‘cloud’, the roof sits on glass walls.

The main contractor for the project, Laing O’Rourke, appointed Waagner-Biro to detail design, fabricate and install the superstructure. Eckersley O’Callaghan assisted Waagner-Biro by taking on and developing the initial scheme design of the glass; rationalising and detailing as part of their structural engineering process to full fabrication information.

The original structural concept involved stacked glass panels connected to glass fins that would support the roof above. We substantially rationalised this by removing the fins and utilising full-height glass panels which would directly support the roof. The result was a more refined and minimal structure with fewer glass joints and less visible metalwork.

The curved glass panels are typically 7 m high and are formed by tempering and laminating 3 layers of glass, each 12mm thick. The steel roof bears directly onto the glass via carefully engineered connections.

Manchester, UK

Waagner – Biro

SimpsonHaugh and Partners