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manchester architecture - a guide to buildings in manchester
Granda TV's awful building

The worst buildings in the rock'n'goal capital of the world

Whilst we're extremely proud of many of Manchester's fine buildings, there's some that have some how managed to sneak past the council's quality control room. Worringly, from the votes we've received so far, most tend not to be from the 1960's and 1970's but far more recent projects from out-of-town designers. Every building on this page though reflects a strict selection standard - they have to be in the Manchester region and, more importantly, they have to be nominated by you as being appalling.


The Hacienda  

1) the haçienda

If the demolition of the original building that once housed the Hacienda nightclub wasn't bad enough, the building that was erected in its place in 2003 also upset a few people. Crosby City Homes tried to recreate the rounded face of the former yacht warehouse which greeted thousands of commuters into the city centre each morning. Instead their twelve storey block of brick and metal is an overpowering eyesore which looks out of place amongst the attractive warehouses and locks that surround it. (also see Manchester's best buildings)

where is it? Whitworth Street West
where can i find out more? crosbyhomes.co.uk
 
Manchester Arndale Centre  

2) arndale centre

When the 1996 IRA bomb looked to have destroyed the Arndale Centre, many Mancunian 'Thank You's' were added to the messages of hatred towards the Irish terrorists. As it happened the 1979 Wilson & Wormersley designed shopping complex survived another day. The largest building in the city with its shops, tower block, car parks and bus station underwent a series of exterior redesigns. The brilliant new footbridge linking it to the new Marks & Spencer was designed by Manchester architects Hodder Associates, and the horrible brick spiral car park ramp was replaced with a modern steel one. Work is now underway on the outside of the shopping centre.

where is it? Market Street and beyond
where can i find out more? manchesterarndale.co.uk
 
One Piccadilly Gardens  

3) one piccadilly gardens

Not necessarily the worst architecture in the city, but surely the worst location for yet another boring brick and glass structure. Developed by London's Argent Group and completed in 2003, this eyesore of an office block has been built slap bang in Piccadilly Gardens opposite the Portland Thistle Hotel and looks more like a multi-storey car park.

where is it? slap bang in Piccadilly Gardens
where can i find out more? onepiccadillygardens.com
 
Great Bridgewater Street  

4) great bridgewater street

No - this Stephenson Bell designed, Crosby City Homes built, monstrosity was not built in the 1970's! The luxury apartments which look more like a prison camp, was dumped on Great Bridgewater Street in 1997. Incredibly, the Design For Homes Architect Group described it as a 'positive statement about the future shape of urban areas'. Were they for real!?!

where is it? next to Rain Bar on Great Bridgewater Street
 
City Point 2  

5) city point 2

Another new development in 2003 that's obviously taken its inspiration from a run down 1980's inner city council estate. Bellway Homes describe their City Point 2 luxury apartments as having a "a dramatic and challenging exterior which emphasises the individuality of its 181 apartments". We presume by the word 'challenging' they mean to the eye, rather than for the builder!?!

where is it? Chapel Street, around the corner from Salford Station
more info? bellway.co.uk
 
City Gate  

6) city gate

Another awful effort from Bellway Homes rising under the eye of the current council planners in 2003. Described in their advertising blurb as "Three stunning buildings, individual design". Whoever wrote that must have been given a free apartment inside the building, which, in fairness, are quite nice.

where is it? Chester Road roundabout at Castlefield
where can i find out more? bellway.co.uk
 
Ibis Manchester  

7) ibis hotel manchester

This incredibly ugly building sits opposite the wonderful building which used to house the Paradise Factory nightclub. Interestingly UMIST's multi-storey car park stands opposite. It's hard to decide which building is the more ugly. Built recently... now there's a surprise!

where is it? corner of Charles Street and Princes Street
 
 
the view from Castlefield  

8) apartments opposite castlefield

The luxury apartments opposite Castlefield seem to be a disappointing waste of opportunity. Having replaced a large stretch of derelict land, the view from the luxury apartments over the Castlefield basin is superb. It's a pity the same can't be said of the view from Castlefield towards the horrible metal and glass building. In fact the view from the ground floor apartments is equally as bad - they overlook the brick wall of the viaduct. Another great opportunity wasted.

where is it? opposite Castlefield, behind Atlas Bar
 
The Premier Lodge GMEX 2  

9) premier lodge manchester gmex 2

Yet another recent addition to the 'anytown' collection of buildings popping up all over Manchester. The new Premier Lodge that greets visitors to the city at the end of the Princes Parkway has been described by Urban Splash's Tom Bloxham as "the most vile building". Many of you seem to agree.

where is it? Mancunian Way and Princes Parkway roundabout
where i can find out more? tom bloxham interview
 
Granada TV Studios  

10) granada studios

One of the most influential companies in the whole of Britain, Granada Televison, are based in this ugly looking building. The 8 storey glass and slab block was built in 1962 by architect Ralph Tubbs. The better highlights can be found on the roof; a spiral stairway climbs up the transmitter mast whilst the large US-styled typography of the broadcaster's name can be seen across the city.

where is it? quay street
 
 

[vote for your worst building here] [also see the best buildings in manchester here]
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The Pevsner ARchitectural Guide to Manchester
buy Manchester - A Guide To Recent Architecture
buy Manchester - An Architectural History
       

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