You need to be able to shape and change your workspace to foster the kind of business culture you want. You need to have more possibilities and choices. That means having an environment you can control, not one that controls you.

Michael Ingall CEO, Allied London

Client  Allied London
Location  Spinningfields, Manchester
Completion  2016
Cost  £30m


  • RIBA stages 1-6
  • Feasibility study
  • Architectural design


  • BCO Northern Awards (Shortlisted)
  • RIBA North West Awards (Shortlisted)
XYZ is a super-nimble speculative office building for corporate, creative and emerging businesses in Spinningfields, Manchester. The 22,040m² BREEAM Excellent building creates dynamic Grade A accommodation, premium hospitality and design-led public spaces alongside a vibrant community hub for tenants, basement car parking, cycle hub, communal workspace, gym, cafe/bar and service concierges.

The brief was for an innovative building concept that gave tenants the ability to adapt their space quickly, easily and at low risk. XYZ offers three alternative HVAC servicing options (underfloor, fan coil and multi-serviced chilled beam) allowing tenants to customise space dependant on staff ratios. In addition, microlouvres were designed into the façades to allow for future supplementary on floor ventilation should layouts or staff density changes.

As one of the last development plots in Spinningfields, XYZ was constructed on a tight urban site with specific net area requirements needed to meet viability. Despite restrictions, we sought to create moments of architectural delight and drama, promoting impromptu interactions in the triple-height void and bridge link, pocket parks, roof terraces and double storey switchback feature stair.

"What we wanted Cartwright Pickard to design was the ultimate flexible workspace building, and it's worked."

Michael Ingall, CEO, Allied London


XYZ is the first concrete-framed building in Spinningfields – the raw, almost industrial feel creates a counterpoint to the surrounding glossy, steel framed corporate buildings. The exposed concrete frame required careful coordination and ensured fire and acoustic requirements were inherent to the fabric. Natural anodised cladding and flashings detail the façade in a robust, elegant way. Oak wall linings and flooring offer a softening warmth to the interiors, with monochromatic finishes completing a modest palette of materials and finishes.

The building is now home to Global Radio, Shoosmiths and NCC - all are accommodated within the same framework but with vastly different servicing arrangements. Alongside these more established businesses are dedicated co-workspace and private studios (All Work & Social, XYZ) sharing communal space which is agile enough to address multi-occupancy requirements. The provision of high quality support and amenity space was critical to help engender a sense of community by fostering better collaboration between businesses large and small, both within the building itself and the wider Spinningfields area.


Photography Hundven-Clements Photography