Overlooking Manchester Cathedral and Deansgate, sitting just over the River Irwell in Salford on the plot once occupied by Exchange Station, The Embankment is the initial phase of a much larger regeneration project to an area that has been neglected for many years. When complete, the new mixed-use development and surrounding revived public realm will create a vibrant new urban quarter linking the cities of Salford and Manchester.
Designed by architect Flanagan Lawrence, The Embankment scheme is arranged on a number of levels within a Grade II listed sandstone façade wall. The old masonry arch structure was demolished to make room for a state of the art steel frame which provides three stories of car parking, restrains the listed façade and is the base for the two modern steel and glass office buildings above. Arched openings in the façade have been integrated within the new scheme and utilised as retail units.
Following a long standing relationship with the client, Ask Real Estate, Ramboll was appointed to provide structural, environmental and geotechnical engineering services as well as Network Rail Interface support on Phase 1 of the development.
In order to meet client requirements and maximise the number of car parking spaces available, a number of innovative structural solutions needed to be implemented; the roof of the car park, or podium deck, provided the project’s biggest challenge.
Due to the constraints of the existing retained façade, the office building and car park grid structures do not match and the building’s cores could not continue down through the podium deck as this would have impacted the car park layout. These restrictions led to the addition of transfer structures at podium level. Steel-framed cores were adopted to minimise the loads onto the transfer structures as they are significantly lighter and quicker to erect than concrete cores.
Encompassing an area around each of the building’s cores, the two transfer slabs employ an innovative design with a 1,500mm thick slab built off a 130mm think composite slab that acts as permanent formwork. The design of the transfer slab proved very challenging and has pushed the current understanding of punching shear design.
Integrating Phase 1 and Phase 2 works
Phase 1 included the construction of Embankment 101, a 10 storey commercial block offering 165,000 sq ft of Grade A space with large open plan spaces of up 15.3m. The centrally positioned braced steel core, that accommodates six lifts, provides the structure with its stability. Construction of Embankment 100, a nine storey commercial block that will offer a further 164,000 sq ft of Grade A space, is expected to start early 2018. In preparation for the construction of Embankment 100, the transfer beams for both buildings were installed at the same time to ensure the new state of the art car park remained operational throughout Phase 2 of the construction programme.
A commitment to sustainability by the client requires the buildings to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, as well as achieving an efficient thermal performance which improves on current Part L requirements.
Embankment 101 tenants secured
Highlighting the desirability of the development, Swinton Insurance has committed to leasing the entire office space at Embankment 101. The head office relocation will see more than 1,000 employees move into the building and will be the largest property letting in Manchester city centre since 2005.
Following the successful delivery of Phase 1 of the development, Ramboll has been appointed to proceed with the detailed design of Phase 2; Embankment 100.