Transforming Spaces

Another busy week as we near the end of Stage 3; the Developed Design stage. During this stage, the ideas from the Concept Design in Stage 2 are refined and developed so that they reflect any changes or amendments required. This means that accurate costs can be put against the design in order for the appointed construction team to start packaging the works and prepare for the Technical Design in Stage 4.  This will help with the progression towards Construction in Stage 5.

Adam Cooper and I met with Steve McCabe (Estates Designer) to discuss the redevelopment and the impact that the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons Image Competition had on the Learning Commons interior. We are investigating our options to see if we can achieve something similar. Additionally, we discussed how Steve could help shape the overall functional design elements in the building in a way which links to the overall Estates Masterplan concept. Steve will meet with the design team in order to discuss this further.

For this stage of the project, we have been developing a comprehensive communication plan to ensure that internal information and messages to staff are effective and useful. The plan will also prepare any external information so that it is ready to be circulated at the relevant times. Information will continue to be updated and grow over the coming months, and can be found on the Library website.

I met with Paul Wright, from Manchester Central Library, to get an understanding of his role as Transformation Manager within their redevelopment project. We discussed the Library’s development of customer services, the creation of the café/visitor area and the impact of changing the food policy within the building. We chatted about how they managed the move into the building and about his relationship with Ryder Architects, the team behind the design of our redevelopment. Central Library has received two Edge awards and was named ‘Manchester Building of the Year’ in 2014. It is crucial to take on board the lessons learnt from their redevelopment in order to be as prepared as possible for our own.

Manchester Central Library
Manchester Central Library

Some of the work that is currently being done has started to explore how we will roll out a consultation programme. People from across the University will be able to shape aspects of the redevelopment with their own thoughts and suggestions, having a direct impact on the future of the building. This will ensure the project is as innovative as possible. We have also started to plan the temporary café area and a part of the consultation for this will be linked with that of the final café area. More information about the consultation will follow in due course.

After some glorious weather at the start of this week, the weekend is looking less favourable. However, the talking point for Saturday must be the demolition of Precinct Bridge. On Wednesday, I saw the arrival of one of the key demolition machines and I plan to bring my daughter to see the work commence on Saturday morning. On my way into the city on Wednesday evening, my friend and I walked down the middle of the closed section of Oxford Road which was a very eerie feeling; it will be very interesting to see how opening up this section of the University will change the area. And finally, three University buildings have been nominated for the Greater Manchester Building of the Year Award (half of the total shortlist). Let’s hope that in 2019, at the end of the redevelopment, the Main Library will also feature on that shortlist.

Mike

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