Former Manchester Poly building restored by Buttress Architects

Hawkins\Brown is moving its Manchester studio into a newly restored 1960s Seifert building after outgrowing its previous space.

The refurbishment and extension of Hilton House, a former academic building, was designed by local practice Buttress Architects with Sheila Bird Studio.

CERT_HILTONHOUSE_NOV2020_131 Manchester Seifert Buttress Hawkins Brown

Hilton House, originally designed by Richard Seifert, was refurbished by Buttress Architects. It will become home to Hawkins Brown’s Manchester studio this spring

Completed last year, it involved upgrading the façade, adding new space at the rear, restoring a spiral staircase and stripping back plasterboard and carpets to reveal the original terracotta ceilings and parquet floors.

The firm’s Manchester office, its first regional studio, was established on Tariff Street six years ago with eight staff but has grown to 30, with two more due to join next month.

It is headed by Katie Tonkinson who moved back to her home city in 2014 after 12 years at Hawkins\Brown’s London office.

Now the practice has leased an entire 4,000sq ft floor round the corner at Hilton House, a Northern Quarter landmark originally designed by Seifert in the late 1960s for the drama and lighting department of Manchester Polytechnic.

It had been in a state of neglect for several decades before a rescue project last year by new owner CERT Property working with Buttress.

Last year the studio won planning for two major schemes in Manchester city centre, a 350,000sq ft deal for workspace at Pollard Street and 600 homes at Victoria Riverside.