In Manchester there are multiple examples of converted historical buildings, some with more consideration of the building's historical past than others. To name a few:
- Manchester Eye Hospital on Oxford Road is now let to CityLabs
With its preserved façade the old Eye Hospital hides a new glass dominated modern office and lab space to its rear, complete with a Starbucks.
- Corn Exchange
The outside of the building remains the same but the inside has been gutted to create an open space with a variety of restaurants and eateries
Bruntwood, the developer responsible for the Manchester Eye Hospital, has set its sights on a new project, namely Abney Hall in Cheadle Village.
Abney Hall was originally built in 1847 by a cotton magnate and boasts a couple of famous guests including Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert and her son Edward VII. Moreover the hall was redesigned in parts by August Pugin who co-designed the Palace of Westminster.
Keeping the significant history and architectural prowess the Grade II listed building has in mind, the redesign to office space is certainly interesting. The modern spaces vary in size and shape, maintaining some of the historical features and the outside is a treat with little to no alterations.
Taking into account the historical prestige of the site, it would be interesting to see what the various opinions on the building would be. Moreover, what’s your opinion? Do you like that the building has a new purpose to fit in with modern demands whilst also trying to maintain some of its historical significance, or do you think the design has failed to walk the tightrope between functional design and historical preservation?
Have a look at their brochure here.