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Urbis, UK

As Manchester's Millenium Project, Urbis is a landmark building providing space for exhibitions and other cultural activities. Its design responds to the island site, following the street edge and turning back on itself to define the entrance and form a sheltering backdrop to a new landscaped public space.

The strong sculptural form is determined by a seamless skin of sandblasted glass of varying transparency. The dominant roof, clad in pre-patinated copper to blend with the green hue of the glass, slopes and cants towards the city.  A copper rooflight forms an emphatic spine to the building, which extends outwards as a 'contemporary finial'.

From the ground level foyer, the view up the building reveals its section and is emphasised by a funicular lift structure.

This building received a high commendation in Copper Development Association's Copper in Architecture Awards 10. The judges recognised the building's response to its urban context, its single-minded sculptural qualities and the major part played in this by the distinctive copper roof.

Although taking a 'broad brush' approach to use of materials on a large scale, the judges were impressed with the detailed layout of the copper to structure the sloping roof and use of the jagged roof-light structure ripping through the roof plane while reflecting the curved plan.

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Building

Owner: 
Manchester City Council
Completion date: 
2000
City: 
Manchester

Categories

Applications: 
Roofs
Type of building: 
Cultural
Copper used: 
Pre-patinated
Estate: 
New

Architect

Name, office: 
Ian Simpson Architects Ltd.
Address & description: 
Riverside, 4 Commercial Street, Manchester M15 4RQ

Copper contractors

Title: 
Laing O'Rourke Group
Address & description: 
Archway 3, Birley Fields, Greenheys Lane, West Hulme, Manchester M15 5QJ

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