Category: Student Castle

To be honest, I’m still not keen on the name of this development, Circle Square, for the old BBC site on Oxford Road but it’s one I’m going to have to keep an eye on. It’s a huge site and I’m liking the plans. It’s very modern but, in its design and colouring, it more than nods at its illustrious neighbour, the Palace Hotel, and, in the use of red brick, reflects the old warehouses and mills of Cottonopolis. It’s a development that is extending the city centre into the inner suburbs. This is happening all around the city centre, the first time it’s happened in over a 100 years.

The company behind it have released some more pictures of what it will look like when it’s finished. They have imposed the unbuilt buildings onto actual photographs so you have a great idea of what it will look like.

A view down Oxford Street towards the University corridor with the new buildings just beyond the wonderful Palace Hotel…


From further along Oxford Street with the Palace Theatre and Palace Hotel. You can see the proposed tower in this one…


This was taken from First Street. You can see the tower of the development and a couple of other buildings. Then we have Student Castle just left of centre and the new apartment development at the top of Cambridge Street…


Looking along Oxford Street towards the city centre…


And my favourite one is from the forecourt of Oxford Road Station with the Palace Theatre on the left balanced by the new tower on the right and some of the other buildings…


In all my time blogging I don’t think I’ve ever posted about Oxford Road Station. My life rarely sends it through it. I’m either in the car, on the tram or at Piccadilly Station waiting for the train to London. But it did this week. It spite of my absence from it, it is one of the busiest stations in the city. It’s close to the universities and is a good station to arrive at if you work in the offices everywhere from Oxford Road to Spinningfields. It brings commuters from the western and southern suburbs of the city and has connections with towns and cities across the north of England from places as far apart as Liverpool and North Wales, from Windermere in the Lakes to Scarborough on the Yorkshire coast and as far as Newcastle in the north east corner of England. It’s connected directly to the airport so it’s got international connections as well. It’s a very busy station. And it’s set to get busier as it’s part of the plan to upgrade all the stations in central Manchester to take more traffic and make it a Northern Hub like London is in the south east.


Architecturally it is unusual. There must be steel and concrete in there somewhere but the entire station is made of graceful curves clad in wood. There must have been an older Victorian station at one time but it was replaced in the 1950s by the present building. What happened to the older station, I have no idea. It could have been demolished or disappeared in WW2.






The first look of Manchester proper as you leave the station is of the magnificent Palace Hotel rearing above the Cornerhouse Arts Centre. It makes a great first impression of the city…


Looking down the ramp from the station into the city. The Palace Theatre is directly in front of you. It’s showing ‘Jersey Boys’ at the moment…


The area around Oxford Road Station is one of the most crowded in the city with buildings crowding in on one another. This is the GREEN Building, an apartment block that has all kinds of features that make it environmentally neutral. I hope it includes great sound proofing as it’s right by one of the busiest stations in the city. But if you want peace, move to Cheshire, you don’t live here is a bit of noise bothers you…



Student Castle, one of the tallest buildings in the city, was shoehorned onto a tiny site a couple of years back. It’s also just by the railway running into the station. I like the contrast between the straight verticals of the Student castle and the curves of Oxford Road Station…



Looking back along the tracks towards Deanagate Station. You can see all the new developments along First Street approaching being finished. They include HOME, the new building that will house the Cornerhouse Cinema and Art Galleries and the Library Theatre Company…



This is my attempt at an arty shot of the Student castle Tower on New Wakefield Street. It’s now finished (well almost) and is fully occupied by students with parents wealthy enough to be able to afford the rents on a very small apartment in the city centre. It’s fitted out with all the things that students at the University would need like fast wifi and a stunning view. It’s situated on a site where the university pushes up against the city centre so it’s a very convenient place to live, 15 minutes walk from the main campus of the university in one direction and the same distance walk from Selfridge’s and Harvey Nichols in the other. They are just finishing off the the surroundings of the building, doing finishing touches.

I was pleased with the way the other buildings framed the tower and I like the typical blue, cloud Manchester Autumnal sky…

As No. 1 St. Peter’s Square gets underway another building project is winding up. The Student Castle Tower, now the third tallest building in the city after the Hilton and CIS Towers, is all but complete. The crane disappeared a few weeks back and the site is busy with people putting finishing touches to it. Some of the cladding needs finishing and the windows need a good clean but I saw furniture in some of the lower rooms and I spotted a small army of cleaners arriving to deal with the apartments. The universities open in just a few weeks and some students are already booked in I believe. One of the guys on site assured me it will all be ready. Some pictures of the finished (almost) building.

The building is now making a real impact on the skyline of the city and you can see it from lots of different angles as you arrive in the city. I took a picture of the building from my place under the marquee of the Palace Theatre and if you his the ‘Student Castle’ tab you can see how it’s grown over the last couple of years……


The Student Castle building just off Oxford Road is nearing completion. It is now the second tallest building in the city after the Hilton Tower. The soft grey, blue and pink panel cladding is rushing up the side of the building and sounds dreadful but looks great. The words ‘Student Castle’ are in place on both sides. And its all looking rather fine. I like the way it soars up over the other buildings in the area and stares the tower of the Palace Hotel in the face without overwhelming the older building. I like the view from the Palace Theatre and I like to get right under it and look up from where you can really appreciate the height.

I have been totally amazed at how such a huge building has been squeezed onto a tiny site. And am in awe at how they have delivered the building materials to the site without blocking all the narrow streets around the site.

I got talking to a guy who I took to be a builder. Turned out he was one of the site managers. It seems that the building materials are brought to the city and stored in a huge warehouse somewhere on the edge of the city. The materials needed for the day’s build are then ferried in as needed. It’s all tightly managed so that the building can continue without a break, while the city around it isn’t disrupted. In all the time I’ve had my eye on this building I have not seen any materials lying about and there hasn’tbeen any disruption to traffic or to surrounding businesses which seem to have continued to work unaffected by the tower rising in their midst. So well done to the contractors on this site. The guy I met says the crane will be coming down in the next couple of weeks. I think the apartments on the lower floors are being fitted out for occupation at the moment. It opens when the new University term begins in September/October.

Here’s a picture from the spot I like to use under the marquee of the Palace Theatre so people can click on the ‘Student Castle’ link and see how the building has grown.


I’m keeping my eye on two projects at either end of Oxford Street. Here’s my latest picture of the Student Castle Tower increasingly looming over Cornerhouse and Oxford Road Station. I think it has reached its final height now and what they are doing is bulking out the tower with the living quarters for the students. The cladding seems to be racing up the building at a fast pace as well. They plan to have it open for students in September of this year. Click on ‘Student Castle’ to see how it’s changed.

I’m stood under the marquee of the Palace Theatre. ‘Oliver’ is on at the moment. It’s had some good reviews. And when I was heading back to the car later in the afternoon I got caught up with the Saturdat afternoon matinee audience spilling out into the street with smiles on their faces and hummings of ‘Consider Yourself!’ So I think it must be doing well. Later in the year Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’ returns to the Palace Theatre in Manchester. I have seem that a few times, in Manchester, London and Dublin so I may go again. But what I really want to go and see is ‘The Lion King.’ It’s been on Broadway in New York and in the West End in London for years but I’ve never got to see it. But it’s coming out of London at long last and opens its regional tour at the Palace Theatre next Christmas. Tickets will go fast. It’s perfect for Christmas.

At the other end of Oxford Street where it enters St. Peter’s Square, more of Elisabeth House has gone. Click on ‘No1 St Peter’s Square’ to see it disappear. I thought it might have gone by Easter but I doubt it will make St Patrick’s Day the pace they are going!


I think that the tower being built on New Wakefield Street  called Student Castle is about as tall as it is going to get. I tried counting the floors but I got lost near the top. They have started putting the glazing in and in one of the pictures you can see the cladding going up on one of the solid walls. Just by the tower a little office/showroom has opened and they are beginning to rent out the apartments that will be in here. They look to be aimed at wealthy students, possibly from abroad. They looked very comfortable and well equipped and not at all like I was used to when I was at uni. They still seem to be aiming to have it all up and running for the start of the Autumn term 2012. I continue to be amazed at the efficiency with which this building is being built with it being on a tiny site surrounded by other buildings and businesses that are not being affected by the construction.

Click on the tab ‘Student Castle’ to see how it has grown.

The company behind the Gateway House scheme by Piccadilly Station is also the one behind the University Tower I’ve been watching grow on New Wakefield Street. While I was looking for some pictures of what Gateway House will look like I found a nice picture of what the University Tower will look like when it’s finished as well. It looks quite good. It has the kind of facade tiles that we first saw on the Hilton Tower but now seem to be popping up every where. Maybe they should come up with a new idea? So here’s a picture I took of the tower from near the Bridgewater Hall and the new picture of the finished tower. Click on ‘Student Castle’ to see how it is developing.

I thought I’d take some more pictures of the tower going up on New Wakefield Street called Student Castle now I believe. Will there be jousting and feasts? It’s tall enough to be imposing itself of the city skyline from many different places around the city. The tower hasn’t reached its full height yet, they are still building the service towers, but the concrete super structure is following them up and the glazing is just behind that.  There’s probably lots of stuff going on inside, electrics, water and stuff that we can’t see. It is still expected that it will open for next Autumn.

Click on ‘Student Castle’ to see how it has changed.

The blue, red and grey horizontals and verticals and the grey squares and recatangles created by the building of the tower put me in mind of a painting by Dutch artist, Piet Mondrian.

The tower that is going up on New Wakefield Street at the north end of the university campus has big signs around it calling it ‘Student Castle’ and encouraging students to apply to move in. Not sure how that’s going to work. The students returning this weekend will need somewhere to live now and not Autumn 2012. And the ones who will possibly want to move in will be doing their A levels this year and have no idea which university they will be at next year. I’m sure people far more intelligent than me know what they are doing so I won’t let it worry my little head.

It is shooting up. I think the superstructure is up to floor 21 and the service towers are even higher. The glazing is chasing the concrete up the structure as well. Eventually it will be 33 floors tall. I try to take a picture from the same place under the marquee of the Palace Theatre so people can get an idea of how it is growing. You can see it grow by clicking the tag ‘The University Tower’. Look at the pictures of the 5th May and compare them with the latest to see how it has grown over the summer. They have worked very hard!

It still amazes me that they are able to fit this huge tower onto a tiny piece of land, and to do it so that the other businesses and people who live in the area can carry on with minimum inconvenience. If I was in charge it would be very different. When I cook, every part of the kitchen somehow gets in a mess and there are things piled up all over the surfaces. Floury fingerprints find their way all over the house. If i was in charge of this here would be bits of the tower all over the city centre and beyond waiting for me to tidy it up. I guess they bring stuff in only as and when they need it. I am impressed!

Click on ‘Student Castle’ at the top to see how the building has grown.