News & Insights

Morgan Sindall tops out £23 million development at Manchester Metropolitan University

Morgan Sindall celebrated the approaching completion of the £23 million Art & Design Faculty building at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) with a traditional topping out ceremony.

The project is due to be handed over at the end of the year and will provide a brand new base for the Manchester School of Art which offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate art, design, media and architectural courses.

The ceremony, on Friday 30 March, marked the overall completion of the building's reinforced concrete superstructure, including the insertion of the floors and erection of the walls, columns and the roof slab and was attended by representatives from Morgan Sindall and the university.

Jim Morgan, Morgan Sindall area director for Manchester, says: “Our team has been delighted to be part of this hugely significant project for the university. This innovative, striking building will provide a stimulating learning environment for creative students and will boast teaching space, new workshops, a roof garden and an impressive seven storey gallery.

“We have enjoyed a positive, collaborative relationship with the Manchester Metropolitan team and we are delighted to be able to celebrate this significant milestone for the project as it progresses towards completion.’’

To make way for the state of the art project, a 1970s building on the corner of Cavendish Street and Higher Chatham Street in the inner-city district of Chorlton was demolished. The adjoining Chatham Tower has been retained and is in the process of being refurbished and connected to the new adjacent seven-storey gallery.

The old Chatham Tower structure is being clad in black anodised rainscreen horizontal panels with new ribbon windows to each floor.

This contrasts with the vertical nature of the curtain walling and rainscreen cladding on the new building. When finished, the external appearance will be a striking monochrome building.

Damian Smith, the MMU project manager, says: “We have an excellent collaborative working relationship with Morgan Sindall where all aesthetic decisions affecting the finished building are discussed openly with the faculty.

“The university was instrumental in the decision making process relative to the finishes on the concrete frame. A full bay mock up was constructed at the sub contractor’s yard and then from this the team determined the concrete finishes and joint positions.

“The quality of the finished concrete is very high and a wallpaper pattern with historic links to the Art School has been integrated on to nine double height columns. The pattern definition achieved is outstanding.”

Morgan Sindall was awarded the contract in March 2011 for the scheme following a four-way single-stage design and building tender process. The company also completed work on MMU’s design and technology workshops last year.


Pictured (L-R): Morgan Sindall area director Jim Morgan, Morgan Sindall senior contracts manager Paul Heald, Manchester Metropolitan University Vice Chancellor Professor John Brooks

For more information about this news release please contact Ruth Cobban at Paver Smith on 0151 239 5000 or email