Manchester Town Hall Complex Transformation Programme

Commendation for

Structural Heritage - 2014

Client Name

Manchester City Council


Manchester, United Kingdom

Images: © Ryder Architecture / Ian Simpson Architects / Manchester City Council and Manchester Libraries


The Manchester Library was built in the 1930’s, with its much-loved circular Reading Room, and under it four storeys of bookstacks, metal-framed with concrete floors; a typical 30’s system of book storage. The transformation consisted of removing the floor of the Reading Room and the bookstacks and replacing them with three new reinforced concrete slabs.  New stairs and lifts were also installed, involving complicated structural alterations and some careful temporary supports.  A new glazed link from the Library to the Town Hall Extension was designed by URS and detailed and built by Waagner Biro. A good example of careful and complicated alterations to a listed building.

Judge's comment:

A good example of significant alterations to an important listed building, involving the introduction of new concrete floors and vertical structure.  The significant historical details of the Reading Room were all kept in place, thanks to carefully considered temporary support systems.

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