restoration of the whitworth, university of manchester

The Whitworth, The University of Manchester

New Sculpture Terrace and restoration works to the Grand Hall

Contract Sum: £1.9m
Contract Duration: 42 weeks
Client: The University of Manchester
Project Manager: Cragg Management Services
Architects: MUMA LLP
Quantity Surveyors: Appleyard and Trew

Key Challenge: Modern refurbishment compliant with heritage requirements.

The Whitworth is a multi-award-winning art gallery. This major redevelopment of the Grade II listed building received a RIBA National Award.

Restoration of the Grand Hall comprised: stripping out modern interventions to expose original features; repair work including conservation repairs; redecoration and M&E works. Creating the external Sculpture Terrace included: removing ramped access and constructing a new DDA compliant ramp; modifications to stone entrance steps; laying resin-bonded gravel; new planting, drainage and feature lighting; replacement of entrance doors and lifting lobby levels. Additional works consisted of refurbishment of offices and basement toilets and the creation of a learning studio and two gardens.

We carefully extracted original stone, terracotta coping units and bricks and re-used them where possible. The entrance lobby’s marble floor tiles were removed and re-laid in their original position. Any sourced materials were to heritage specifications. For example, the walls were reconstructed using a historic, lime-based mortar containing pigments from Italy. Finished samples were then sent to a dedicated conservation panel.

Maintaining communication with all parties was critical. We established a strong relationship with the architects, were in regular dialogue with gallery staff and coordinated our M&E works with the requirements of another contractor. We worked extended days and weekends to complete the project on time and to budget and have since been awarded a further contract for the Whitworth.






the whitworth, university of manchester

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Manchester and Cheshire Construction managed the project well. Their approach was always helpful and consistent. All members of their team were diligent and positive. They were all a pleasure to work with.

Simon Usher, Partner, MUMA Architects

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