The University of Manchester has received planning permission from Manchester City Council to create the £350 million engineering campus designed by Mecanoo. The new Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) will be a landmark, celebrating engineering within the world’s first modern city.
MECD will be one of the largest, single construction projects ever undertaken by a higher education institution in the United Kingdom. The development will transform the way in which the University educates future engineers. The scheme boasts 70,590 m2 of interactive learning environments, flexible labs, and bespoke project areas with cutting-edge technologies to support innovation, creativity and collaboration on a completely new scale.
The new campus will heighten the visibility and accessibility of the University’s world-changing engineering and applied science activity, and facilitate strong engagement with industry, local schools and the wider public. At 195 metres long, the development’s main building - MEC Hall - could easily accommodate Manchester’s tallest building, Beetham Tower, laid sideways.
Francesco Veenstra, Partner at Mecanoo and Design Team Leader for MECD said:
“Integrating architecture, interior and landscape, we have designed a campus that will deliver an inspiring first-class teaching and research environment which will assist the University of Manchester’s ambition in becoming one of the top 25 research universities in the world. MECD will have a strong identity that reflects Manchester’s past, present and future, as a city of pioneers, continued to be led by discovery. The design is driven by the core principles of visibility of activities, technology, permeability, urban continuity and craftsmanship.
As a gateway between the existing University of Manchester campus and the city, MECD’s open character will attract people to the facilities and showcase the activities inside. A palette of simple and honest materials, like brick and steel, is combined with a strong articulation of form and a clear structural expression of the facades. The building can be envisioned as an engine: spawning a wide range of research and teaching activities and to take place with a high level of flexibility and adaptability for future change.”
Once complete, MECD will become home to the University’s four engineering schools and two research institutes from the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.
Demolition on the site is currently underway and main construction works are scheduled to begin later this year. The project is due to be completed in 2020.