Imposing, almost sinister red brick buildings, relics of the city’s textile production days, house smart offices, trendy shops, cool bars and nightclubs.
These mighty monoliths block out any view of the sky as one perambulates down the wide avenues and streets of the gay and student areas before crossing the many small hump backed bridges which straddle the murky canals.
Everywhere, one is reminded of the city’s industrial heritage until, chancing upon Spinningfields, the visitor is dazzled by the modernity of the structures. Tall glass office blocks shoot into the sky like some futuristic, aspirational vision of what the city will become when the economy picks up again.
On the lighter side, a beautiful, giant Ferris wheel beckons visitors to one of the main shopping areas and the Hilton hotel is famous for its glass hole in the floor, affording a view straight down from the 23rd floor to the city below – quite dizzying!
Equally dizzying but in tune with the city’s sense of humour is the collection of giant blue men scaling the side of Arthur House in Chorlton Street.
These spindly blue stick men seem to be intent on escaping from the grim car park and coach station opposite.
The building, home to Pitman Training in Manchester, affords a gritty panorama of the city’s skyline, the nocturnal view lit red by the cupola of the Palace theatre.
Recently, thousands of glass and steel apartment blocks have sprung up, enhancing the sense of a city reinventing itself through architecture. Crisp and modern, these attractive and affordable dwellings inspire hope in a generation for whom home ownership was previously out of reach.
Yet these canalside newcomers sit well with the historic cathedral and City Hall buildings just a mile’s walk away.
With such a diversity of building types packed into a geographically confined space, it takes a day or two for the visitor to get his eye in and begin to appreciate the richness of the views on offer.
Come and visit Manchester, walk its streets and get under the skin of the city’s buildings. They’re worth it!
Published by Holborn Training.