River Street

A circulation of the unfinished apartments on the corner of River and Garwood st.

River Street with One First Street in background

River Street with One First Street in background

Map (c) Andrew Taylor

Map (c) Andrew Taylor


This new car park in the basement of the building was empty and damp. Water poured down into the central area.
The stairwells are blocked off up to the higher floors.

IMG_1456 IMG_1454 IMG_1449 IMG_1448 IMG_1446 IMG_1445

How it was going to look according to original vision

How it was going to look according to original vision

Steve Millington talks about the Mancunian Way, the footbridge over the road and the empty shell:

Ian Simpson unveils new Manchester skyscraper

These are the first images of Ian Simpson Architects’ proposals for a new 42-storey block of flats off Mancunian Way in Manchester

The scheme, which is five floors lower than Simpson’s landmark Beetham Tower across the city, will see the demolition of a half-built, Leach Rhodes Walker-designed hotel which currently occupies the site between River Street and Garwood Street.

As well as housing 600 apartments, the project includes a business centre, a shop, 17 car parking spaces, 50 bicycle parking spaces and 200 foldaway bicycle lockers.

1298862_ian_simpson_RiverStreet_ViewA_06 1298863_ian_simpson_House_Street 1298864_ian_simpson_Manc_Way_A 1298870_DAS_Link___Level_06 1298871_DAS_Link___Ground_Floor

Chelmer bought the site in April 2011 and pursued development opportunities. Liaising with Manchester City Council, the company and commissioned Ian Simpson Architects to devise design proposals for a skyscraper building above 100 metres in height. The company held a 4-week consultation period in spring 2012.[3] The planning application was sent in July 2012. Manchester City Council approved the plans in October 2012.[4] Approval was confirmed on 25 October 2012 at the quarterly planning committee meeting.[5]

Demolition of the existing concrete structure is expected to begin in earnest, a process which should take three months.[6] Construction of the skyscraper will take approximately two and a half years and is expected to begin in late 2013.

The development is located on a site on River Street, beside Manchester city centre’s southern boundary next to the Mancunian Way. The site is currently occupied by a half-built concrete frame, originally built for medium-rise apartment block constructed in 2004.[7] The developer went bankrupt and the concrete frame has since remained unoccupied.[4] The building will consist of 600 serviced apartments designed for short-stay ‘serviced living’ and will include a café and gym.[8]

The tower will be similar to modernist buildings like the New Century House and will reflect light to create effect. The architect, Ian Simpson describes the building as “a simple, very elegant and slender building with a glass surface so it will pick up reflections from the light and I think it will be quite dramatic.”[2] The tower shares some characteristic with the simple neomodern style comparable to the Bay Adelaide Centre. (Wikipedia)

I must say I think I prefer the original Leach Rhodes Walker proposal.

Manchester Evening News article: Possible site for new skyscraper

UrbEx links:



Urban Explorers: Quests for Myth, Mystery & Meaning by Bradley Garrett

Urban exploration, sometimes called UE, UrbEx or infiltration, has been described as an interior tourism that allows the curious-minded to discover a world of behind-the-scenes sights’.

(Ninjalicious 2005, p3)



Tim Edensor (MMU) [See British Industrial Ruins website and book]

Caitlin Desilvey (University of Exeter)

David Pinder (Queen Mary, University of London)

Hayden Lorrimer (University of Glasgow)

Alistair Bonnett (Newcastle University)



“The brute materiality of a ruin”

The tactilities and sensation of the materials.

Anti-authoritarian streak. Out on a limb against ideas of how we use space.

The desire to explore.

“There’s always an element of revulsion”. Sense of threat.

East End as a site for social reformers. Bill Bunge 1960s early 1970s explorations in Detroit. Collaboration using Geographic tools.

A fascination with landscape and place.

Going where others have not ventured. A sense of place. From own or others past. Connecting to real feelings, real memories.

Finding gaps and cracks. A radical edge. Creating new community. Doing stuff together. Walking as an important aspect of the dialectic of rambling.

Robert Sullivan – “grabbing the Empire State Building and lifting it up to reveal the underground systems. Thinking downwards and thinking upwards = a vertical orientation.”

Zoom right out then zoom right in.

Childhood: getting older and feeling they have lost something, or never had something.

How to get out of the ‘transparent space’ of surveillance and constantly being watched? Zones off the map. Just ‘going off’ like kids.

They are not ‘overdetermined’ places. Not smoothed over. Not predictable.

Room for imagination. Decay allows the new.

Presenting of the past.

Exploration as a visceral experience.

Dredging up local histories.

The continuing mutation of ruins.

Spectral geographies: haunted spaces, ghosts, traces, the immaterial, strange signs, absent present, the uncanny.



Bunge, Bill, 1969. The First Years of the Detroit Geographical Expedition: A Personal Report. Detroit Society for Human Exploration.

Granick, Harry, 1991. Underneath New York. Fordham University Press.

Macpherson, Hannah, 2009. Touch in the Countryside: Memory and Visualization Through the Feet in The Senses and Society 4(2).

Urban Exploration Resource, 2009.


See also: Gareth Rees Psychogeography blog