The Oglesby Centre

  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography
  • © Daniel Hopkinson Photography

Special Award

Michael Middleton Special Award

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Special Award

Region

North West

Local Authority Area

Manchester

Information about this scheme

The Oglesby Centre is a contemporary extension to the Grade II listed deconsecrated St Peter’s Church, set amidst the rich industrial heritage of the Ancoats district in Manchester. It quietly forms the final centrepiece of the neighbourhood’s redevelopment, providing a café and rehearsal, performance, education and ancillary spaces for the Hallé Orchestra and Choir, enabling The Halle to extend its outreach and teaching scope for schools and others. The extension is conceived as a classically proportioned modernist metaphor of the existing listed building. The form of the extension is ‘cut and carved’ out of the solid, maximising daylight into the building and creating visual links with the public square. Influenced by the proportions of the golden rectangle and expressed as a robust handmade brick plinth at street level that cradles the first-floor rehearsal space. Arranged over three stories the accommodation incorporates mixed-use, flexible and acoustically isolated spaces organised along clearly legible circulation routes. The basement features education rooms, support spaces and offices that benefit from natural daylight via glazed pavement rooflights above. The ground floor entrance opens to a serene triple height sculptural atrium featuring raked brickwork offset by the purity of a white stair that rises towards a glass roof offering direct views towards the existing St Peter’s campanile tower. A blackened steel shroud, inscribed with a specially commissioned poem by Poet Laurette, Simon Armitage frames a new opening through the base of the brickwork tower presenting a captivating glimpse into the existing building. First-floor accommodation is arranged along a primary corridor terminating with frameless views of the surrounding neighbourhood. The principal rehearsal and practice rooms are unique floating ‘box in box’ rooms, totally isolated from the primary structural frame to prevent sound transfer and ensure the highest level of acoustic performance in these key spaces. The main rehearsal space features monolithic plaster panels at high level, whilst lower-level fine diffusion is provided by solid oak fins that also conceal adjustable heavy weight acoustic curtains, creating a more tactile interface with the orchestra. A restrained palette of materials was selected to complement the existing building and embody their own classicism. Roman format handmade bricks with contrasting dark grey lime mortar joints are deeply raked to offer a contemporary interpretation of the existing masonry. The main rehearsal space is expressed externally as a weathering steel box with articulated fins making historical reference to the water tanks synonymous with the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, whilst vertical and horizontal structural glazing provide the most delicate of connections with the existing building and allow natural daylight to flood into the new building. Community involvement was fundamental from the earliest design stage, with regular community interaction and consultation workshops forming the foundation for a truly integrated building that welcomes not only the local community, but visitors from around the world.

Credits

Client

Hallé Concerts Society

Architect

stephenson STUDIO

Structural Engineer

Booth King Partnership

Services Engineer

Max Fordham

Acoustic Consultant

Arup

Fire Engineering

Design Fire Consultants

Approved Building Control Inspector

Butler & Young

Project Manager

Mace

Quantity Surveyor

Simon Fenton Partnership

Main Contractor

HH Smith

Primary Use Class

Class D2 - Assembly and Leisure