Stubbs Mill - Manchester

Stubbs Mill is the transformation of a former machine works into creative workspaces, located in New Islington, along the Ashton Canal for developer URBAN SPLASH. The Mill, created / owned by Joseph Stubbs, was a pioneer in bobbin production and other machine parts for use in the thriving mill industry.

Built by Artez Construction, the contemporary conversion, set over three storeys, creates flexible, design led offices split by a central atrium and core.

A purposeful raw finish, with exposed steel beams, original machinery and lightly blasted brickwork creates a new alternative approach for converting such heritage assets. One might say not your ‘run of the mill’ conversion!

A considered use of break out and third spaces (mix of home and working) supports the main floorplates. The WC pods and brew points are set within the atrium void, to act as objects in space, to separate their uses both physically and mentally from the main works areas. The best third space is a small chill out space at the very top of the main tower (which used to be a water tank). This offers 360 degree panoramic views.

The 2nd floor benefits from the refurbished northlight roof, which had been rebuilt with OSB SIPs (structural insulated panels) and translucent polycarbonate sheets. We do not believe there is a more naturally lit space for miles!

The landscaping uses a simple palate of materials, black top tarmac and resin bonded gravel. Tarmac, seen as a poor man’s material, was chosen as a canvas to allow huge bobbin graphics to be used to demark the parking bays. The bonded gravel forms a linear landscaped strip along the main elevation that terminates with a boules court to one end.

The signage for the building is a key part of its identity. From afar, the most visible is the orange neon sign that overlays the original STUBBS tower graphic. At closer range the large brick stencilling of STUBBS can be seen on the corner of the main façade. The painted brickwork is a reference to the old advertising ghost signs of the surrounding mills. This new graphic overlays onto the relic of old adjoining buildings that have long since disappeared. The use of smooth facing, black painted brickwork will show where we have made clear interventions to the existing fabric.