North-western developer plans city's tallest tower, third millennium village and link-up with Foster and Partners.
Developer Urban Splash is developing three landmark projects in Greater Manchester, together worth more than £250m.

The most audacious of these is a 30-storey, mixed-use tower designed by Ian Simpson Architects opposite its Britannia Basin site at Castlefield, north Manchester. If built this will be the tallest building in the city at 137 m.

Urban Splash is also developing a series of schemes to transform the run-down 3000-unit Cardroom Estate in Ancoats, east Manchester. This 12 ha scheme, which will be the third millennium village, will be a £200m architectural showcase. It is to include a new canal basin and renovated waterways.

The third project is a £30m residential conversion of a factory at Altrincham, Greater Manchester. The scheme is designed by the developer's architectural arm Urban Splash Architects, which this week rebranded itself as Arkheion (see box), and Foster and Partners.

The first scheme in Urban Splash's regeneration of the Cardroom area is Jonathan Davidson Associates' design for a redevelopment of the 19th-century Waulk Mills on the edge of the site. This is to be turned into offices for creative and high-tech start-ups. It will be submitted for planning permission in January.

Urban Splash is also developing a scheme to extend the floorplates of a derelict tower block on the estate and reclad it. "The idea is that creating more spacious flats will pay for recladding the tower," said Tom Bloxham, chairman of Urban Splash. This concept has been designed by Arkheion, and may be applied to several towers owned by Urban Splash in east Manchester.

The red-brick former Ancoats hospital building on the Cardroom Estate will be redeveloped as flats. An international competition is planned to attract bids from signature architects for this part of the scheme.

Urban Splash is advising a local NHS trust on an architectural competition for a health clinic at Cardroom. Manchester-based Hodder Associates, Ian Simpson Architects, Stephenson Bell and Liverpool-based Shed KM are understood to be bidding to design it.

Urban Splash also plans to link the Rochdale and Ashton canals, which run parallel through the Cardroom estate, to create a basin that will be surrounded with waterfront residential development. The developer plans to reinstate inlets and small basins that have been filled in and build new and landscaped walkways alongside the canals.

One idea for the estate is to build a combined heat and power plant and drill water boreholes making it self-sufficient in energy and water. "The idea is that residents will pay a flat yearly rate to use unlimited water and electricity," said Bloxham.

The regeneration of the Cardroom Estate is expected to take five to 10 years.

  • Urban Splash is redeveloping two grade II-listed buildings in Plymouth's dockyards. The mixed-use scheme, designed by Bristol-based Ferguson Mann, includes 123 apartments, shops, a restaurant, and an art and exhibition centre.

    The developer is also overseeing a £60m mixed-use scheme for the redevelopment of the grade II-listed 7.2 ha Manningham Mills in Bradford, West Yorkshire, to be designed by Arkeheion. The project is awaiting the resolution of a £5m funding shortfall after regeneration agency Yorkshire Forward pulled out.

    Urban Splash Architects becomes Arkheion

    Manchester and Liverpool-based Urban Splash Architects relaunched this week as independent practice Arkheion. The rebranded firm will provide a variety of services including architecture, urban design, landscape design, interiors, planning supervision and project management. Simon Marsh, formerly managing director of Urban Splash Architects, remains as managing director of Arkheion. The 15-strong practice this week won a RIBA Housing Design Award for The Tea Factory in Liverpool, a rooftop addition of 30 flats to a converted warehouse for parent developer Urban Splash. The practice also won commendations for its conversion of the derelict Britannia Mills in Castlefield, north Manchester, and for Old Haymarket, a mixed-use redevelopment of several listed buildings in Liverpool’s St George area, both for Urban Splash. Arkheion will continue work on the £87m of Urban Splash projects it has on its books at present as well as looking to expand its portfolio.