Manchester Metropolitan University Student Union

New £8m Student Union for Manchester Metropolitan University accommodating a café bar, events hall, shop, offices, and fitness studio.

Project Details
  • Client

    Manchester Metropolitan University

  • Architect

    Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios

The 4 storey building has glazed brick elevations interspersed with curtain walling and a green roof above the 18m clear span events hall. The new Manchester Metropolitan University’s Student Union Building was awarded the 2015 RIBA North West Regional Award.

Waterman were appointed to carry out civil and structural, building services and acoustic engineering services on the project. Initially appointed by Manchester Metropolitan University to RIBA Stage D, our Structures team were later novated to Miller Construction for completion of the technical design.

Architect, Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios, wanted to create a clean, raw feel to the building with expression of structure and building services a key feature. The use of thermal mass as part of the M&E strategy was also a key driver in the structural solution. Several options were considered, but for consistency of detailing and speed of construction, a precast solution was adopted for both the structural frame and external cladding. A stacked system was used for the precast glazed brick cladding panels to avoid excessive loads onto the frame. Precast was also adopted for some of the foundation elements. Acoustics determined that the roof to the events hall required to be of concrete construction. Therefore for lightness, 18m clear span steel beams were used to support the concrete roof.

An unusual feature is the glass floor in the café bar. During a preconstruction archaeological investigation of the site, a number of intact 19th century basements were encountered.  It was decided to preserve one of these beneath the café’ bar by constructing a concrete box around the basement and illuminating to allow viewing through the floor.