Led by Matthew Grzywinski and Amador Pons, New York City-based practice Grzywinski+Pons has recently completed Whitworth Locke, a 160-room hotel with a bar, cafe, lounge and co-working space in Manchester, England.
The hotel is comprised of three blocks, that were built in separate phases: Central House, Dominion House and Johnson House. “This commission had special resonance for us as the beautiful former textile warehouses and showroom were highly reminiscent of some of the earliest work we did designing interventions to 19th-century masonry buildings — functional and stylistic contemporaries to these Mancunian structures — in our native New York City,” explains the design team. “The proportions, materials, textures and quality of light we inherited felt a bit like home and demanded to be exalted.”
The renovation was driven by the intent to preserve and celebrate the richness of the historic 19th Century fabric while obliterating a poor alteration from the 1980s, all while creating a distinct new language commensurate to the new life and purpose the design team hoped to foster within. “We paid special attention to the thresholds into the building and the dialogue between our interventions and the beauty of the Victorian blocks.”
At the centre of the three blocks, previous alterations were removed while the glazed atrium was simplified to maximise transparency. The structure was finished in colour found to be tonally close to Manchester skies – regressive and deferential to the prominence of the historic facades and the new insertions. A contiguous floor of granite block pavers connects the inside with the outside, drawing in passers-by and guests alike by making conviviality clearly legible to the street.
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