Project Details - Park Inn

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The Manser Practice clads new Manchester landmarks in ceramic granite

Manchester's vibrant Green Quarter boasts two striking new buildings, designed by The Manser Practice and built by main contractor Bowmer & Kirkland.

The new sleek black Park Inn Hotel developed by CityPark (Manchester) Limited is very different in form and function from its towering next door neighbour, an imposing 12-storey office complex developed by Development Securities Limited and recently purchased by Peninsula Insurance Services. However, they both feature sleek black Sureclad ventilated facades constructed using large format ceramic granite panels, supplied and prefabricated by Shackerley.

The Manser Practice specified highly polished and fully vitrified black ceramic granite facade panels in order to provide distinctive and eyecatching outer envelopes for the hotel and office and to establish an aesthetic relationship between two adjacent buildings. Manser director Barry Mullin explains: "These were to be 'statement' buildings in their own right and had very different requirements in terms of design and construction but we wanted them to share a common visual theme. We've used a very limited palette of materials to create two highly reflective buildings which exude quality and style.

"It was always going to be ceramic granite cladding. We never gave any other material any serious thought because we know from our experience on previous projects that nothing else delivers the same aesthetic quality, the reflective finish and sheer strength and consistency. The shimmering glass-like finish means that the appearance of the elevations is continuously changing in throughout the day in response to the prevailing weather conditions."

The decision was also made on technical grounds, as Barry explains: "Ceramic granite is an ideal cladding material made from natural elements but engineered to eliminate the flaws and weaknesses that you find in stone in its quarried state. It's so hard and strong that large panels of just 12mm thick can be used and their relative light weight reduces loadings on the facade substructure, the building as a whole, and makes handling and fixing easier for the installation team."

Although different construction methods were to be employed on the office and hotel, the same Sureclad 'Hang On' substructure was specified for both buildings and the same contractor, Keyclad, completed both facade installations.

Barry concludes: "We were the very first practice in the UK to use Shackerley's ceramic granite ventilated cladding back in 2002 to create the outer envelope for a £26m extension at the Hilton Hotel at London Gatwick. We started a trend and have been watching with great interest as our fellow architects have followed our lead ever since.

"We're absolutely delighted to have had another opportunity to specify ceramic granite ventilated cladding for not one, but two of Manchester's newest buildings and once again Shackerley's Sureclad system has delivered the ideal aesthetic and technical solution, exceeding all our expectations."