Appraising the site constraints of the Renaissance Hotel in Manchester, UK
The Renaissance Hotel in Manchester is located at the northern end of Deansgate close to the cathedral and Harvey Nichols. Following a long-running campaign by Manchester City Council to have the site redeveloped, Urban & Civic bought it in 2014 and planned to transform it into a new hotel, shops, flats and a public square. For this project, RSK company RoC Consulting was contracted to provide strategic land services, which involved undertaking an appraisal to identify the site constraints to inform the redevelopment of this complex site after demolition of the existing buildings.
The building houses a 203-bedroom hotel, a car park and an office building. It’s bounded by the River Irwell to the west, Victoria Bridge to the north and Blackfriars Street to the south. Deansgate itself is one of Manchester’s oldest thoroughfares and dates back to the Roman period. It is named after the lost River Dene, which is thought to have run along Hanging Ditch, which connects the rivers Irk and Irwell.
Historical records show that the current buildings were constructed against Deansgate, where the retained height exceeds 4 m. The site levels change dramatically from Deansgate down to the River Irwell and this steep change in level accommodates a four-level car park beneath the podium level from which springs two buildings, Premier House and the Renaissance Hotel. The 15-storey building was designed as an office but was refitted as a hotel in the early 1970s. Designed by Cruickshank and Seward and completed in 1972, the building is an example of the Brutalist architectural style that was prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s.
A key consideration of the site constraints plan was the retention of the highway at the eastern Deansgate boundary; consequently, a detailed demolition methodology would be required to maintain the stability of the highway.