The Chips Building


One of the first developments in the major New Islington project in East Manchester.  Chips is a nine-storey block of 142 apartments designed by Alsop Architects for Urban Splash.  It is a big building, 100m long and 14m wide, comparable to the Victorian industrial structures that survive in this area. Giant silk-screened lettering, honouring the names of the regionís canals, is equal to the scale of the site, as is the bold division of the nine floors into bands of three 'chips'.  Shallow wiggles in each layer, misaligning with each other, animate the block.  The middle band projects at each end into 9m cantilevers in a deliberate attempt to create a sense of heaviness, offset by jittering window rhythms and colourful recesses for balconies.  The bascule bridge in the foreground marks a new waterway which will link the Ashton canal, seen here, and the Rochdale canal.  From it several basins will infiltrate the site between housing, with a scattering of cafés and other facilities to enliven the quays.

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Alsop Architects
Urban Splash
New Islington
New East Manchester