No.1 Spinningfields, Manchester

It’s a stunning feat of engineering, even to an untrained eye, with its two dramatic, cantilevered podiums topped by an 11-story tower. The £73 million No.1 Spinningfields – built by BAM – dominates the city’s impressive new business district.

Spinningfields is a beacon of regeneration in the very heart of Manchester: a whole new business district that has not only attracted prestigious corporates, banks and professional firms, but also upmarket retailers and restaurants.

The area’s history provides a stark contrast to today’s sparkling mix of steel, glass and green spaces. The original Spinningfields was a grimy rabbit warren of alleys and tenements dating from the industrial revolution, its name deriving from the punishing work of preparing cotton for weaving.

After the Manchester bombing, the City Council wanted to breathe new vigour into numerous tired urban spaces. As far back as 1997, Allied London had the foresight to realise this particular area’s potential. The project to transform Spinningfields was starting to take shape.

Now that vision has become a spectacular reality.


Project details

  • Customer: Allied London

  • Architect: Axis

  • Project Manager: Gardiner & Theobald

  • Quantity Surveyor:  Gardiner & Theobald

  • Structural Engineer: ROC Consulting

  • M&E Consultants: Grontmij

  • Value: £73 million

View related projects

165 Fact icon metres high, the tower crane was ‘jumped’ four times from its normal height
20 Fact icon storeys the rooftop restaurant offers 360° views of the city
2,150 Fact icon tonnes the amount of set concrete poured by 150 successive lorry deliveries
BREEAM Fact icon excellent rating

Public and corporate space

No.1 Spinningfields is the centrepiece for the whole development. Built on the site of the former Quay House, the overhanging podium sections of the building cantilever over Quay Street and Byrom Street, with a smaller cantilever over the Hardman Square entrance, setting the whole tone for the public realm.

A pedestrian route through the ground floor directly connects Quay Street and Hardman Square.

The 92 metre tall, Grade A office development provides over 260,000 square feet, with floor plates of between 11,000 and 25,000 square feet. As well as office accommodation, BAM has helped to create striking contemporary ground floor and mezzanine reception areas, space for restaurants, cafés and a business lounge.

At the top of the building, the 6,738 sq ft rooftop restaurant – 20 Storeys – opens onto a garden terrace with spectacular views from Manchester’s fifth tallest building. Way down below, two basement levels provide parking for 115 cars, 10 motorcycles and secure storage for 120 bicycles with showers and lockers provided.

Construction was remarkably fast: only two years on from the start of construction in July 2015, BAM busy was fitting out some of the office spaces for incoming tenants.

The high-performance triple glazed façade features various solar coatings and ceramic frits, to minimise potential overheating while letting in as much natural daylight as possible.

The high-performance triple glazed façade features various solar coatings and ceramic frits, to minimise potential overheating while letting in as much natural daylight as possible.

Construction on a mammoth scale

No.1 Spinningfields first made its mark on the Manchester skyline when the first of three tower cranes started to be erected early one Saturday morning. By Sunday evening, the 117 metre crane was complete and remained in place for 63 weeks.

The process drew a crowd of onlookers throughout the day who marvelled at the scale of the operation and in particular at the team involved, who were working at dizzying heights (although always very securely harnessed).

The tallest crane climbed twice to a height of 165 metres, just four metres short of Manchester’s tallest landmark, Beetham Tower.

The construction also involve what may be BAM’s biggest single concrete pour to date. The massive logistics exercise involved 150 wagons arriving one after another, pouring a total of 860 cubic metres of concrete to form the ‘core 1 base’ for the structure: the equivalent of 2,150 tonnes when set.

Home to the best

Prestigious tenants now occupying No. 1 include ‘Big Four’ accountancy firm PWC, two of Manchester’s leading law firms and innovative American company WeWork, which offers fully serviced co-working space.

There is an M&S Foodhall on the ground floor. And Chef Director, Aiden Byrne presides over the prestigious 20 Storeys restaurant, which occupies the rooftop space and provides panoramic views of the city from its open, plant-bedecked terraces.

Next door, BAM has also delivered The Pavilion: the first home outside London for well-known celebrity haunt The Ivy. This four-storey construction – Manchester’s largest timber-framed building – is at the heart of the green space in Hardman Square, providing a dramatic contrast with its glass and steel neighbour.

“Spinningfields has achieved its vision and will now without doubt continue to sustain and develop as the corporate heartbeat of the city and continue to set a benchmark for the development of city centre commercial environments.”

Michael Ingall

Chief Executive, Allied London