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A landmark development is transforming 20 acres of a major UK city. The £800 million ‘NOMA’ project will deliver a high quality commercial district for Manchester (UK), providing world-class public space and the best standards in urban sustainable design. Scheduled for completion in 2012, NOMA will create a unique space for those living, working and relaxing in the area, generate at least 15,000 new jobs, and encourage more investment into the city.
“Royal Haskoning’s team is providing valuable support on this exciting, innovative and challenging project. Always quick to react to requests and to deal with any issues, they are also coordinating activities and have built good relationships with all the stakeholders.”
- Chris Dunne, Construction Project Manager, The Cooperative Group
With its own renewable energy centre, a 17.5MW biomass CHP power plant, and other key environmental innovations, the project is one of the world’s most significant and sustainable mixed use developments in progress today.
Underpinned by The Co-operative Group, the UK’s largest consumer owned Co-operative, the first phase of the project began in 2011, and included construction of The Co-operative Group’s new head office.
Technical Director Craig Francis explains Royal Haskoning’s role in the project: “We were initially appointed to prepare technical designs and specifications for the public realm as part of a joint bid with Dutch architect Mecanoo. But after good feedback and successful delivery of all milestones at that point, The Co-operative Group asked us to submit a further proposal to continue to completion.
“We are also providing Construction Design and Management, quantity surveyor and cost plan, civil engineering expertise to manage 3D modelling of site levels, and production of the detailed design package.
“Our team is based in Manchester, a huge advantage which means we can work closely with The Co-operative Group, Manchester City Council, and other stakeholders involved in the development,” Craig adds.
Development of the public realm, landscaped square, and a four star boutique hotel will take place, as well as construction of the power plant and alterations to the highways network will take place this year.
BREEAM and CEEQUAL The detailed design focuses on sustainability and environmental excellence, using locally sourced materials, local stone and native species for planting. Rain water will be collected and used for irrigation, with excess water stored in an underground tank to reduce the surface water discharge rate. LED lighting will reduce maintenance and energy costs.
”We are using the expertise of our Green Facilities team and our own CEEQUAL assessor to help design, plan and build cutting edge green facilities which will have a positive impact on the environment, and ensure we meet the CEEQUAL target.
The Head Office building design has already received a design stage assessment ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM rating, and Royal Haskoning and Mecanoo have been targeted to achieve a matching ‘Excellent’ CEE QUAL rating for the public realm.
Enhancing the public experience While NOMA benefits from excellent connectivity to Greater Manchester, the North West and the whole UK – further enhanced by the City’s future transport investment plans – a key principal of the public realm design brief is to improve the pedestrian experience by providing footpaths and more green space into the area.
“Whilst the look and feel of the public realm area is key,” Craig adds, “there were numerous constraints that needed to be factored into the design prior to fixing levels and deciding on locations for trees, lighting columns and CCTV masts.
“We had to consider the locations of rainwater harvesting and attenuation tanks, surface water sewers, incoming services and the air intakes for the head office building. The topography of the site was also quite challenging and the cover requirements for the underground services meant we have had to be creative with the proposed levels in order to meet those requirements and also to provide appropriate disabled access without having to incorporate steps or handrails.
“One of our biggest challenges was how to deal with the three ventilation shafts which run from beneath the head office and emerge in the centre of the square. The ‘earth tubes’ are three metres in diameter with a cover requirement of 2,5m and at the location of the intake extend three metres in height above the finished ground level.
“The challenge was to incorporate the earth tube intakes into the design and make them into an attractive feature; we produced flow calculations to demonstrate that the tubes and louvers could be covered in a second skin of copper weave to transform them into a focal point in the heart of landscaped area.”