Stockport Exchange is a new, multi-million pound mixed-use destination, combining high quality office space with retail and leisure facilities and car parking.
The project, a joint venture between Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and their development partner Muse, aimed to create a thriving commercial business district for Stockport.
Phase 1 of the project was the development of a new 1,000 space multi storey car park, completed in early 2015. Phase 2 comprises a new public realm, grade A office building of 43,000 square feet (sq ft) and a 115-bed Holiday Inn Express. Phases 3 through to 7 will provide a further 370,000 square feet of commercial space.
Developer/Client: MUSE/Stockport Council. Landscape Architect: Gillespies. Architect: Aedas. Civil & Structural Engineers: Curtins. M&E Engineers: Hannan’s. Contractors: Eric Wright Construction.
Hardscape were fundamental in supporting the project to supply hard landscaping materials to the second phase of Stockport Exchange working hand-in-hand with Gillespies landscape architects, who were involved from inception to completion to deliver a high quality scheme to:
1. Create a new gateway and arrival space to Stockport from the station:
One of the most important assets of Stockport Exchange is the connectivity to the local, regional and national rail and road network.
There are over 10 rail services to Manchester per hour, and three services per hour to London Euston.
The A6 route runs adjacent to the scheme and the M60 is only five minutes away. There is also a new NCP located next to the station, offering 1000 additional car parking spaces in the area.
2. Create a new pedestrian boulevard that looks to establish a more feasible link to the town centre:
The new walk way out of the station gives a clear route into the town, with the warm granite mix providing a welcoming ambience with areas to sit and relax for both local and visiting pedestrians and commuters alike.
3. Create a high-quality setting for the phase 2 hotel and commercial office development:
Wes Erlam, development director at Muse, said: “As this is the only new Grade A, BREEAM Excellent office space under construction in South Manchester or Stockport, it offers an unrivalled proposition to occupiers who want to take advantage of the excellent transport links and local skilled labour market.” With this there was a high-quality setting needed, with newly paved walkways linking the office development, the station and also a new 115-bed Holiday Inn Express.
Hardscape supplied all the granite paving, walling, kerbs, coping and steps, which amounted to 9500 square metres in total. The walling, steps, copings and kerbs were all Royal Grey granite. The granite sett mix was specifically chosen to provide a warm rich texture that is sympathetic to the vernacular red brick in the area whilst also complementing the modern commercial buildings. Hardscape assisted in the choice of colours which included a specific mix of Barleycorn (22.5%), Magma (22.5%), Cloudy Violet (22.5%), Cotton Rose (22.5%) and a final addition of Darton Brown (10%). There was also Crystal Black and Royal Grey granite setts used for separate walk ways.
All the stone walls and terraces were bespoke to ensure a simple, elegant finish to the scheme and to articulate the large-level changes in an effortless and seamless way.
The real success of this project is the transformation from the previously cluttered, uninviting, unlikable streetscape that was mainly vehicle dominated, to a vibrant, minimal space with sweeping pedestrian walkways, flowing geometries and a place where people now enjoy the space to sit and relax in.
This scheme is Phase 2 of a wider masterplan for Stockport Exchange. Phase 3 is currently at the design development stage and will see the public realm extended to form the next part of the pedestrian boulevard towards Stockport town centre.