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Viewing Platforms: The New Manchester Office Amenity

100 Embankment's viewing platform (top) and the more sheltered zone below it

Has the hot weather gone to office designers’ heads?

After 50 days of almost entirely rain-free Mancunian weather, the rooftop viewing deck has become the latest must-have amenity for city office blocks.

Manchester — the city with an average of 152 rainy days a year but whose visitor centre sells umbrellas bravely proclaiming “It Never Rains in Manchester” — has gone mad for the outdoors.

However, the designers at 100 Embankment have sensibly included a large area sheltered from the wind whipping down the Irwell, and a covered area just in case you-know-what should happen.

Enabling work has begun ahead of construction commencing next month on the 166K SF scheme, which will sit alongside its sister building, 101 Embankment — now the headquarters of Swinton Insurance Group. It is due for completion in June 2020.

Occupiers will have access to a tiered rooftop terrace area which provides 360-degree views across both cities.

The two Embankment office blocks in just over the boundary in Salford (the river, bottom left, is the Manchester/Salford boundary)

“We know from experience that occupiers are attracted to buildings that can offer outside space. Responding to that we’ve designed a split-level roof terrace with a viewing platform from which people can relax, work or host events,” Flanagan Lawrence architect David Lawrence said.

“The way in which occupiers use office space is constantly changing so our building design has evolved to reflect that change of use. With an increase in the number of people now cycling to work, we’ve included changing facilities, showers and bike parking and there are spaces for daily exercise classes. It’s very much a building of today, which is responding to the requirements of tenants in a simple and elegant way.”

The scheme is being delivered in a joint venture partnership between Ask Real Estate, the Richardson Family and a Tristan Capital Partners’ fund, which signed a forward funding agreement with Salford City Council earlier this year. BAM Construction is the lead contractor.

And just for the record, Manchester is nowhere near as wet as Leeds, Glasgow or Cardiff, according to rainfall figures from the Met Office. But looking at the sky some days that is hard to believe.