'We always felt this building was a bit like a spaceship has landed in Northshore Blackpool' says Dominic Manfredi Director at AHR Architects.
Part of a new development intended to act as a catylsyt for urban development, this multi-functional building containing leisure facilities, retail and office space is centrally positioned opposite Blackpool's North station approach.
The resulting four-storey building sits on prefabricated Y-shaped steel columns at ground floor. These, says the architect, are a nod to Blackpool’s key landmarks: the exposed structures of the tower; the piers and rollercoasters at the Pleasure Beach. The ground floor is given over to retail and a gym, the 900mm drop across the site allows for generous floor-to-ceiling heights in the internal shop spaces.
Externally, there is 4500m² of glazing which incorporates 'DualthermHP' Vision panels containing 'Coolite SKN172 with a unique silk screen linear design complemented by a 'Dualspan' Spandrel Panel designed to match the overall building aesthetics. The glass was chosen for its high light transmission, excellent solar gain and an insulation value of 1.0 w/m² K
Inside, each floor is supported by a 15m clear-span structure with meeting rooms pushed up against the edge of the building so the activity within can animate the facade. The glass is fritted with a simple linear design to reduce the amount of light in the space and provide a degree of privacy for the staff.
AHR arranged the plan around the exterior of its assigned plot. As a consequence, the building has three facades, facing north, south-east and south-west, arranged around a deep central courtyard. The north facade faces the station and the architect has alternated the rhythm of the glass fritting to disrupt the monotony of the planar surface. The entrance is slightly recessed and the western side of the building is pulled forward slightly, to clearly designate where to enter. It’s a simple tactic that distinguishes the council building from the huge glass sweep that adorns the front of the adjacent supermarket.