Headlines: November 13th, 2006

TOP AWARD FOR BUILDING AT HEART OF CITY REGENERATION AREA

 

A sixth form college and library built as part of the regeneration of North Manchester have won a major design award. The North Manchester Sixth Form College in Harpurhey, which shares premises with the North City Library, took the top prize at the Royal Institute of British Architects Learning and Skills Council Further Education Awards, which recognise buildings that “inspire a spirit of learning for the 21st Century.”

The success follows another accolade for the development last month when it took a silver award in the best public building category of the national Roses Design Awards, being beaten to the gold by St Catherine’s College, Cambridge. Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said having a nationally significant facility such as the new building highlighted the progress being made in the regeneration of North Manchester.

The building, designed by Manchester-based Walker Simpson Architects was described by the judges as “welcoming and intriguing.” The college principal, Peter Tavernor said, “We wanted the building to be inviting, we wanted it to be open, so that people would feel welcome and secure.”He said the success of the building could be measured by its level of usage and it had been fabulously received. “Our advanced level courses have been oversubscribed for the past two years and there has been more than a 500 per cent rise in the number of library visits,” he added.

The project was designed and built within LSC budget parameters but includes a number of features which lead the way in terms of design, social inclusion and environmental issues.

The Harpurhey district of the city has been a priority area for regeneration investment. The vision for the building was for it to be a defining statement of key investment in the transformation of Harpurhey and the rest of North Manchester to boost the confidence of people living in the area, students and investors.