The UK’s leading science and technology park operator Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) has announced practical completion of its flagship 70,000 sq ft Bright Building.
Developed for MSP by majority shareholder, Bruntwood, it is located at the heart of Manchester Science Park.
Acting as the central hub for the entire 150-strong community of science and technology businesses within MSP, it will also be a focal point for the wider Corridor Manchester innovation district.
It will serve as the new headquarters for Innovate UK’s Internet of Things city demonstrator, CityVerve, and will also be home to a raft of embryonic tech businesses based in Mi-IDEA – the post-accelerator innovation centre operated in partnership with Cisco.
With a design encompassing many cutting-edge connected technologies developed as part of the CityVerve project, including hyper-location services and environmental sensors, the Bright Building will truly be a facility of the future.
State-of-the-art connectivity is provided through Cisco’s 3800 series network, and customers also benefit from the company’s Telepresence video conferencing system and digital ‘Spark’ whiteboards.
The four-storey building offers prospective customers floorplates from 2,000 to 15,000 sq ft, affording the flexibility and capacity for blue chip corporates to co-locate with pioneering start-up enterprises.
It has been designed by BDP architects, who are also working on the overall masterplan for Manchester Science Park to grow the combined city centre estate to one million sq ft. Internal fit out works for the building have been undertaken by BDP in collaboration with interior fit out specialists Sheila Bird Group.
The layout intentionally maximises chance encounters, fostering the collaborative culture that MSP facilities are renowned for. The majority of the 20,000 sq ft ground floor is given over to a communal space, equally suited to events for up to 200 people, or informal socialising.
The upper levels of the building provide two uninterrupted open plan floor plates spanning a clear 15 metres in width, from which a view into the atrium is achieved. Here, an eye catching lighting installation shines brightly through the external glazing and is clearly visible from the wider surroundings and the University of Manchester campus.
MSP set about to challenge traditional design concepts with the Bright Building, and future developments on the Citylabs campus, by focussing on community centric design which works across organisational and functional boundaries. A uniquely diverse space has therefore been created which sets itself apart from the standard corporate aesthetic. A balance of contrast, light and darkness have been employed to create drama and visual interest, whilst on the upper floors of the building, Saw-tooth windows to the east and west facade have been developed out to provide breakout spaces for impromptu meetings.
BDP Lighting, led by Associate Chris Lowe, designed the lighting for the building’s landscape, atria, spine and the southern half of the ground floor. Bright Building users will experience a combination of intimately-lit small scale areas along with larger scale industrial raw spaces.
Employee wellbeing is at the forefront of the design with a ground floor café operated by ethical caterer, Friska, who have chosen the Bright Building as the location for their first northern site. This café will further complement additional facilities with cycle storage, shower facilities, a fitness studio with instructor-led classes, and an external yoga area all available for customers to enjoy.
As a natural extension to the community centred design of the Bright Building, the exterior landscaping has been created to support the delivery of the MSP events programme and will provide social and respite space for customers outside of their office or lab. Delivered by North West firm Hultons, the layout provides a re-imagined entrance to the site, with a garden area served by fast and free WI-FI, offering customers the ability to work or relax outside. The building will be accessible 24/7 and also benefits from on-site car parking.
Construction work was divided into individual trade packages with the Shell and Core delivered by local contractors Marcus Worthington & Co Ltd; glazing and curtain walling by Quest Solutions Ltd; M&E by A&B Engineering and internal fit out by Amspec Ltd.
Thomas Renn, Managing Director, Manchester Science Partnerships, said: “The Bright Building is the first new build on Manchester Science Park in more than 15 years. Its name and design reflect our hopes for it with people and place being championed above traditional bricks and mortar design. Home to pioneering initiatives like CityVerve and Mi-IDEA, it will be a key digital innovation centre for the North, providing the ideal environment for fresh ideas and new technologies to be taken from inception to market.
“But it is also a new central hub for the MSP community and the Corridor. We’re looking forward to the new connections and partnerships that will be sparked by the events programme which will run from it.
“The state-of-the-art facilities, location and the chance to benefit from membership of the MSP community have driven substantial interest from prospective customers. More than 75 per cent of the building will be either exchanged or legally instructed by the time we officially launch on 21 September.”
The project leader for BDP, Architect Director Gary Wilde added: “BDP’s relationship to this scheme goes back to the original masterplan phase. It’s pleasing to see the practice’s integrated disciplines being utilised, from the masterplan through to the building design and the creative lighting solution.
“We look forward to seeing the dynamic space created within the Bright Building in use.”
Part-funded by the North West Evergreen Fund (backed by the European Regional Development Fund), and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Bright Building is located within the Corridor Manchester Enterprise Zone, which provides significant financial benefits for businesses looking to locate here.
Businesses moving to the Bright Building before March 31 2021 may be eligible for a total of £275k in business rates relief over a period of five years.