74 completes design of amenity spaces for leading BTR scheme The Green Rooms at MediaCityUK in Salford
The Green Rooms from Amro Living is a sleek, new, build-to-rent scheme located at MediaCityUK in Salford and offering a luxurious living experience surrounded by fantastic landmarks and a thriving neighbourhood. The design of the scheme’s extensive ground-floor amenity spaces is by Manchester-based architecture and interior design practice 74, who already have a strong reputation for award-winning student amenity spaces and are now bringing that expertise to the BTR (build-to-rent) market.
Built on the rich artistic, inventive histories of Salford and Manchester, MediaCityUK is a major international hub for technology, innovation and creativity. The conurbation is home to the BBC, ITV, dock10 and Kellogg’s, as well as over 250 smaller media and digital businesses, independent bars, restaurants and boutique shops.
‘Responding to the future growth of MediaCityUK was a key part of our strategic thinking on this project’, 74 Founder David Holt commented. ‘With over £1billion currently invested in the neighbourhood and plans for it to double in size to 7.7 hectares – including 1,800 private sale and BTR apartments and townhouses and 55,000 sq m of additional office space – it really is ‘hot property’ right now. We were delighted to be involved with Amro Living on this project, helping to profile and target the development’s future users with a stand-out suite of amenities.’
The Green Rooms, by AHR Architects, is made up of 238 stylish 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments, with enviable views of the waterfront and Manchester’s iconic skyline. 74’s aim for the amenity design was to create a vibrant space that reflected the style, elegance and charm of the surrounding urban landscape and would be inspired by the arts and the people who would use it. The practice undertook a building analysis during the final stages of the base build to ensure each space within the ground floor amenity space would be used to its full potential.
Site and Demographic Analysis:
Site analysis revealed the particular desirability of the location – not only because of its waterside siting, but for its proximity to Imperial War Museum North, The Lowry Theatre, MediaCityUK itself and its great transport connections, from Manchester’s Metrolink system to good train and bus links and ample local parking.
With MediaCityUK’s existing appeal to technology, media and arts professionals, the site was judged to be attractive to other demographic groups too, including students at Salford University, young families, those working at different types of businesses who would also enjoy the benefits of the location and older single people looking for a good quality of life and the added buzz of community life. The amenities also needed to be attractive to non-residents, including local businesses wanting to use flexible spaces for meetings or events. Analysis of other local offerings in the area was also undertaken to ensure the new scheme’s singularity and differentiation.
Design Concept and Aesthetic Inspiration
The urban landscape fed into the design narrative by reflecting local building forms, patterns and lighting, and interpreting this into furniture, fittings and finishes. Major influences included the preponderance of monolithic structures and sweeping curves; bold forms, shapes and patterns; reflections from the abundant glazing and the water of the River Irwell; contemporary and organic shapes with neon hues, warm lighting and futuristic lighting shapes and the use of industrial-style materials such as steel panelling and mesh cladding.
The emotional feel of a space that would speak to a number of different domestic aesthetics was also important, with this feel was defined as sophisticated and strongly linked to the neighbourhood and local community, creating a relaxing and hospitable sanctuary feel, as well as being inviting, inspirational and collaborative, for those seeking to use the amenity spaces together with other people.
‘We distilled all of these influences into our design concept’, 74 Founder David Holt commented, ‘so that the amenity spaces feature a contemporary materiality, whose linearity reflects local architectural language, together with a softening of those clean lines via organic shapes and texture from woven patterns and perforation, as well as the tactility of rugs and throws. Furniture features colourful, bold and bright colourways, with a slightly harder edge through the use of brushed steel and metallic detailing. Health and wellbeing is promoted throughout by careful application of biophilic principles.’
The Amenity Space Plan
The 515 sq m ground floor amenity space includes four main areas with individual zones within those, so that the full offer encompasses: reception and lobby space; shared workspace; lounge and quiet working area; postboxes; parcel store for residents; gym and shower rooms; fitness studio; staff offices; snug; flexible event space and a booking meeting room or private dining facility.
The large lobby area at the building’s main entrance is a warm, vibrant and welcoming space, featuring a reception desk and lounge space with a waiting area, postboxes and as a co-working and shared workspace to the right-hand side, serviced by a dry bar. On the opposite side of the circulation corridor is further lounge space and postboxes, as well as a quiet work zone. A strong feature of the lobby is the 16m x 5m monumental mural across the entire rear wall of the space, created by art studio Aster Muro, together with students from the Manchester School of Art (MSA). The mural is a unique element of the scheme and, because of the building’s vast glass frontage, effectively also a public piece of art visible to and appreciably by those walking past on their way into MediaCity and the BBC’s offices. The fresco was created by artist Charles Snell of Aster Muro in an intense five-day time period in June 2020, assisted by four foundation students from the MSA, who had completed a training placement at the Aster Muro studio in The Wye Valley earlier in the year.
“Our foundation students were provided with a fabulous opportunity to work on an industry-based brief alongside Aster Muro. Throughout the project, the students were presented with an invaluable experience and were able to observe the technical, complex processes of a highly skilled professional artist at work,” Benjamin Greenhalgh, Lecturer in Foundation Art and Design at MSA commented.
Text description provided by CAROLINE COLLETT PR LTD for 74
Image credits: 74