The main element of the works is the 1,800t, 8,500m² ETFE roof made of 410 airbags which are a lightweight, self-cleaning, easy-to-replace alternative to glass and help to control the temperature in the redeveloped concourse.
A total of 15 steel ribs, founded on 5m-high buttresses, make up the frame supporting the roof, with the longest measuring 98m-long and weighing 87t.
“The design of the new station roof was always the focal point of the redevelopment of Manchester Victoria. To reverse the negative opinions of the original station we wanted to create a space which was naturally lit and ventilated.
“A steel and ETFE roof was quickly identified as being the best solution for enclosing the space, creating a covered public space in the heart of the city. The ETFE, with its low weight and long spans, helped reduce the quantity and weight of steelwork in the roof,” says BDP Project Architect Peter Jenkins.
This highly-efficient solution reduces the volume of material used, transportation costs and embodied energy.
Steel was the only choice to achieve the shapes required as it is lightweight, flexible, lean and highly sustainable and can produce long spans to arc over the listed elements without overshadowing them.
The judges say the tubular steel ribs forming the new roof create an effective transition between the curving railway tracks and the adjacent buildings. Despite severe constraints, the steelwork was erected on schedule with the station remaining operational throughout. The result is a completely transformed space, with the exposed steelwork a dominant feature.
Photo © Martine Hamilton Knight