Buoyed by regeneration cash and the impending Commonwealth Games, Manchester council is about to complete an ambitious series of civic projects. Martin Spring took a look at the three jewels in the city’s crown.
Manchester council is putting the finishing touches to Britain’s most ambitious collection of stylish civic buildings and public spaces. Most are timed for completion before the Commonwealth Games, which will run from 25 July to 4 August, and collectively they won the authority the prize for Britain’s best client at the Building awards this week.

Manchester is the first English city to host the Commonwealth Games for 68 years. The event is billed as the largest sporting event ever staged in Britain, and is expected to attract a billion viewers across the world. The city council is grasping this opportunity to display its new civic collection.

Over the next five pages, Building looks at the most spectacular of these projects. The glitziest is the Urbis museum, shown on this spread, which is the centrepiece of the city centre regeneration after the IRA bomb of 1996. The biggest is the £110m sports stadium, the main venue for the games and flagship for the regeneration of east Manchester. And the most refined is Michael Hopkins & Partners’ modern extension to the city’s classical art gallery.