Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Wednesday 19th June 2019

20th Century Manchester

RomanGlossary Term [1] Catholic St Augustine's in Chorlton-on-Medlock (1967-8) reflect the new liturgy of that decade.

After the First World War the major civic undertaking in the centre was the Central Library and Town Hall extension, by Vincent Harris, erected 1930-8.

Manchester, Midland Bank, King Street
Manchester, Daily Express Building, Great Ancoats Street

The Midland Bank on King Street by Edwin Lutyens, designed in 1928, is easily the best example of interwar classicism in the city.

The Modern Movement is represented only by the Daily Express in Ancoats by Sir Owen Williams, (1936-9), as good as anything of its day in England. It lacks the splendid interior of the paper's Fleet Street offices in London but enjoys a better site.

Manchester, Chemical Engineering, Pilot Plant, UMIST

The optimism of the early 1960s is reflected in the buildings of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology campus, notably impressive Brutalist edifices of Corbusian influence e.g. the Renold Building by W. A. Gibbons of Cruickshank & Seward, and H. M. Fairhurst's Chemical Engineering Pilot Plant.

In the city centre the best of all the 1960s buildings is the group of Co-operative Insurance Society and Co-operative Wholesale Society buildings.

Also of note: Albert Bridge House (E. H. Banks, 1958-9) on Bridge Street; the Piccadilly Plaza (Covell, Matthews & Partners, 1959-65, (being remodelled 2001); Casson, Conder & Partners' former District Bank (1966-9) and Brett & Pollen's Pall Mall Court (1969), the last two on King Street. One of the most interesting and innovative buildings of the period was a product of the public sector, Oxford Road Station.

New building of the 1970s was less ambitious than in the previous decade, except in terms of scale. Levitt Bernstein's high-tech Royal Exchange Theatre pod of 1976 is an example of creativity in a period which is memorable mainly for the erection of the ugly inward looking Arndale Centre (Wilson & Womersley, 1972-80)

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009