Inspired by the archetype of Dutch canal houses, Mecanoo have designed brick apartment buildings on the old campus of Manchester Metropolitan University. Together, the structures surround a secret garden.
In northwestern England, on the former campus of Manchester Metropolitan University, Mecanoo are currently erecting a new residential neighbourhood. Including existing buildings, such as the canal-side, brick Victorian warehouses and a concrete tower from 1964, makes it possible to trace new connection paths along Canal Street.
In the new district, known as KAMPUS, the various heights of the individual buildings reflect the urban space at different scales. Alternating openings reduce the massive character of the brick façade, while occasional pixel elements balance out the rough surface material. The buildings are divided into three parts: a podium with a dark metal sheath, textured masonry in the middle and a roofscape, likewise clad in dark metal, that was inspired by the archetype of Dutch canal houses.
The podium anchors elements of the new buildings and tower as a consistent whole. The heart of the project appears among the newly designed paths leading to KAMPUS – a secret garden. According to the architects from Mecanoo, this outdoor space makes the perfect setting for urban encounters.