Manchester Central Library

ClientManchester City Council


Project TypeCivic

CompletionMarch 2014



The transformation of the Grade II* listed library is part of the wider refurbishment of Manchester’s town hall complex, widely regarded as one of the finest groups of civic buildings in the country.

The library had become tired, cluttered and no longer viable.  The existing symmetrical circular structure was disorientating.  Stairs were enclosed and uninviting.  Through early and ongoing consultation with English Heritage, the major heritage spaces were refurbished to their former glory and new interventions were designed as modern features within the neo classical structure.

The design for transformation was founded on two bold interventions into the historic fabric of the building – removal of existing book stacks to create ground level public access and a new public floor and the insertion of new stairs and lifts to link all the floors.

Since re-opening visitor numbers have doubled, with a remarkable 5,000 visitors on its opening day and over 300,000 in the first three months.

“The entire building is absolutely buzzing and we’ve seen so many young people, families and children – people who probably wouldn’t have come to library in the past which is superb.  It really is a destination now.  It is everything we have wanted and more.”

Neil MacInnes, Head of Manchester’s Library Service

“I can recommend Ryder as experts in their field.”

Dave Carty, Head of Transformation Programme, Manchester City Council

“Despite the fact there was no contractual obligation to use BIM, the team achieved excellent results and added value for the client throughout the project.  We think this is an exemplary case of the importance of cultural change in successful BIM implementation.”

Arto Kiviniemi, Chair in Architecture, Liverpool University

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