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A constructive year

2019 has been an extraordinary year for showcasing our work in progress. At one point we had 11 projects under construction at the same time, a record for us! In particular, Manchester’s Deansgate Square drew much public interest as residents moved into the first of four towers, and the 67 storey South Tower completed, and HMRC, confirmed tenants for Westfield M7 in London, joined us for the building’s topping out ceremony.

With so much building going on, we also celebrated the successful completion of five projects. Providing new waterfront homes in North Shields, Smokehouses is helping transform the former Smith’s Dock shipyard into a lively and attractive community. In Preston, the Engineering Innovation Centre at University of Central Lancashire welcomed undergraduate, industry, research, academic and undergraduate users to state of the art facilities, in which they are encouraged to establish long-term partnerships and teams. Responding to a sensitive heritage context, Burlington House provides Manchester city with 91 unique homes. Further south in London: Holbrook House in West Acton provides 424 bedrooms, ancillary facilities and roof terraces for students; and the three buildings at One Blackfriars encircle a new public plaza, enticing visitors and locals to and from the South Bank Thames River walk way.

New Opportunities

Despite the political turbulence and economic uncertainty, 2019 also brought us exciting new appointments with existing and new clients. Continuing our long-term working relationship with Downing, we developed proposals for a co-living scheme at First Street South in Manchester. In the northwestern part of the city, we embarked on a new collaboration with Bond Bryan Architects and The Manchester College, to design the college’s new City Centre Campus. At Great Jackson Street, we are working with Renaker to deliver the next phase of the Crown Street development, with a planning application for two 50 storey residential towers and a new primary school due to be submitted early in the new year. The planning application for 325 Deansgate, a 22 storey Staycity Aparthotel, which was submitted in December 2019, continues our exploration of opportunities around the Castlefield viaduct with Ask Real Estate.

Awards and successes

It’s always humbling to have our work acknowledged by others. This year, No.1 Spinningfields was named the British Council for Offices (BCO) Northern Region Best Commercial Workplace. The project was also finalist for the BCO ‘Best of the Best’ National Award and for both AJ100 Building of the Year and AJ Architecture Workplace of the Year awards. Having only recently completed, the Engineering Innovation Centre was awarded Specifi Building Services Project of the Year, and innovative construction work at Manchester New Square received a North West Structural Award.

There was much success amongst our people too. Seven SimpsonHaugh team members were promoted to recognise their contribution to our practice, their career and the profession. Another seven team members qualified as architects, a fantastic achievement requiring tenacity and dedication.

Merry Christmas! We wish you a productive, progressive and wonderful 2020!