The project creates a new centre for the Embroiderers’ Guild, showcasing its considerable and unique collection currently archived at Hampden Court. The design provides a modern textile archive, galleries for temporary exhibitions and the permanent collection, staff, education and research spaces, as well as café and sales areas.
The site comprises the existing Grade II Listed St Peter’s church, plus adjoining vacant site and proposed open public space. The project was intended to play an important role in the redevelopment of Ancoats, which is an inner city regeneration area in Manchester under the control of the Ancoats Building Preservation Trust.
The existing church’s simple basilica-like interior is designed to house exhibition space for the permanent collection, and for separate temporary exhibitions. Its Italianate bell tower is a strong focal point for the surrounding area, and acts as the main entrance hall. The four-storey, contiguous new-build element incorporates the shop, café, secure loading bay and workshop at ground floor level. A three-storey central atrium is proposed in the new building as a counterpoint to the existing church rose window wall, together with education rooms, library, and members’ rooms on the first floor. At second and third floor levels, the collection archive is designed in a fully environmentally controlled and secure store together, with conservation room and private study area.
The form of the new-build follows the line of the existing church, with the new West façade opening out onto a landscaped public space. The new façades are clad in red sandstone, a strong feature in the Ancoats area. These complement the church’s robust, red stock brick architecture. Similarly, the internal spatial development within the new-build is also intended to complement the abutting existing architecture.
The site adds to the focus on Manchester’s considerable textile heritage, as home to the World’s first industrial textile mills. Importantly, this project finds appropriate use for the redundant church, helps kick-start local regeneration and aims to promote embroidery, providing the whole community with access to its resources and skills.
Shortly before construction was due to commence, with all funding secured via National Lottery and other grants, the decision was taken to abandon this exciting project.
Client: The Embroiderers Guild
Architect: John Miller + Partners
Status: Tender 2005