• 12 October 2020

New boutique hotel checking into Manchester’s Spinningfields district

KE Hotels has begun to transform the 18th century former Invicta House into the sophisticated 145-bedroom Moxy Hotel that will bring first-class Marriott service to Atkinson Street, one of the most vibrant areas of Manchester.

Forming part of Marriott International’s offering, the new nine-storey hotel will be a stylish addition to the mix of modern and historical landmarks within the city centre.

The former 15,000 ft2 Invicta House was demolished after housing a variety of local businesses throughout its colourful past, including a soda water factory, a manufacturing chemist, a hat works and, most notably, a silk finishing factory.

Given its significant industrial and textile past, the original Atkinson Street façade has been retained to front the reinvented 35,000 ft2 building which will see guests welcomed through a new hotel entrance. Inspired by the building’s past, the exterior will be clad in weathered-effect metal rainscreen panels which are designed to resemble the punch cards of a Jacquard loom, while the interior will be given a new lease of life by carefully fusing traditional and contemporary design.

Waterman were appointed by Khanna Enterprises to provide structural and building services engineering and are working closely with GA Construction and ICA architects to deliver this exceptional development.

During the early stages of design, our engineers developed a structural solution which responds to the tight site restrictions caused by the boundary wall conditions on two sides. An in situ reinforced concrete frame superstructure was selected to provide the greatest intrinsic value and adaptability for the project due to the fluid nature of concrete designs. This solution also benefits the fire rating and acoustic separation due to its extra mass compared to a traditional steel frame.

The superstructure is supported by a piled basement level, and is designed to transfer loads efficiently through the building, incorporating transfer slabs where the columns re-align at levels three and eight. All of the floor slabs are designed as flat slabs, providing flush ceiling soffits which assist with the creation of a clutter-free services zone.

With the new construction located adjacent to existing buildings, continuous flight auger (CFA) piles were chosen to allow a vibration-free pile formation, with piles socketed into the underlying sandstone bedrock.
The building services design required careful engineering solutions to accommodate the required plantroom, general environmental, firefighting and smoke ventilation systems into the restrictive building site. Using an effective collaborative approach, our team worked with the client and design team to successfully deliver energy efficient ventilation, heating and comfort cooling systems that meet the needs of a modern hotel. This included general and feature lighting, app-controlled door access systems, guest room IT and multimedia provisions, all of which complied with the Marriot Brand Standards and Manchester City Council’s energy efficiency criteria.

The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily slowed the progress of foundation works on site, with the team taking this opportunity to assess the feasibility of adding an additional storey to the existing nine-storey structure.

Robert Bradley, Waterman’s Director for Structures in Manchester, commented; “We are delighted to be working alongside Khanna Enterprises and KE Hotels to sympathetically reinvent this historic site in Manchester’s city centre. Through careful design intervention, we’ve been able to retain the building’s character, whilst creating a stunning modern hotel which will meet the needs of guests for many years to come.”

The Moxy Hotel is due to open in autumn 2021.

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