Condition
BA Architecture Thesis (2016)



The project took the site of the former ‘Little Ireland’ in Manchester as its starting point, which Friedrich Engels wrote about in “The Conditions of the Working Class in England” in 1845, drawing parallels between the living conditions which Engels described as a result of the industrial revolution, and the increasingly troublesome numbers of rough sleepers who occupied the area  after six years of austerity Britain.

The proposed building aimed to address the needs of Manchester’s rapidly increasing homeless population through an industrial setting, with a programme balancing the need for accomodation and employment. In a somewhat ironic homage to the historical textile industry that the city was built on, the site provided a range of jobs in the weaving and manufacturing of cotton garments. The building had a number of public functions to it to force the issues at hand into public view –this is achieved through the design of a series of multifunctional spaces for collaboration betwen the workers and the public.

The site is a much underused, but highly central spot within Manchester, so attention to how the building responds to the public space around it, and the area’s architectural heritage, was carefully considered, to the extent that the building’s massing experiments with an approachably domestic scale at its upper level, as well as an imposingly industrial scale where it meets the ground.




COLIN KEAYS 2018