Case Studies - Co-Op Headquarters – Manchester

‘Designed to achieve a BREEAM rating of “outstanding” ’


Co-op Headquarters - Manchester


  • Bam - Manchester


  • Sector: Case Study
  • Size: National Account
  • Type: FCSI
  • Features:
    Overall project value £900k with a number of challenging obstacles

The Co-operative Group’s flagship new building,1 Angel Square, has been built in Manchester close to the business current complex on Miller Street and Corporation Street.   The 16 storey building will be the home to more than 3,000 employees working across the Group’s family of retailing and financial services businesses.  It is due to open in Spring 2013 and it will add a striking new landmark to the city’s skyline.  Manchester has been the Group’s home for nearly 150 years and the new building is a demonstration of The Co-operative’s current success, its confidence in its future and its commitment to the city.  The building is the biggest single expression of The Co-operative’s values and is outstanding in its environmental commitment to tackling climate change.

BAM were appointed to build this extremely sustainable new headquarters for The Co-operative with a brief to ensure the building achieved a BREEAM Outstanding rating.   The 16-storey building contains 325,000 sq ft of open plan office space and a large central atrium. Two basement floors include underground car parking, auditorium and fitness facilities.  The internal layout allows flexible use of the space and state-of-the-art technology.  An integrated energy system promotes renewable energy. CHP units can run on pure plant oil harvested and refined from The Co-operative’s own farms. A sustainable drainage system stores and recycles water as needed.

The foodservice equipment features various food offers with main kitchen and servery areas on level 8 along with central dishwash area linked to a coffee shop and outside seating areas looking over central Manchester.  There is an atrium cafe servicing the concourse area with a satellite cooking area to the rear. In addition pantry areas on basement and level 9 facilitate any requirements from either meeting rooms or auditorium areas.  On ground floor there are four test kitchens with The Co-operative are using to test their branded food and even a wine tasting area featuring wine’s from around the world.

The overall value of this project appoavcehed £900k with a number of challenging obstacles including getting the Meiko Rack Dishwasher craned in onto the level 8 landing area in high winds which made spectacular viewing.   There was another concern with regards to the ceiling in the main Kitchen where originally the working height would have ended up at 2050mm! A bit challenging for anyone tall!

Airedale had limited access for transferring equipment to higher levels through two dedicated lifts by way of a booking in procedure from 7am until 7pm at 15 minute intervals.  At any one time there were over 90 sub-contractors working on site with varying numbers of personnel from 400 to 800 at any one time.

Airedale provided all the equipment from Rational Combi Ovens to Falcon Cooking equipment through to Meiko Warewashing and Prime Design Serveries throughout.  Prime Design were used to provide all featured foodservice counters which housed drop in heated and chilled displays as well as fitted in furniture housing in other catering areas.

The scheme throughout had to achieve the best BREAAM rating so all 5 Cold/Freezer Rooms had to be water chilled and all refrigeration was hydrocarbon from Precision. Other elements on the sustainability had to be considers by way of grease treatment from Watling Hope and Mechline.

Airedale in their bid had to consider BAM’s brief of employing local employees with all staff including sales, project managers and engineers based with a 50 mile radius of the site.

Health & Safety was critical and it was pleased to be given second place in the “Bam H&S League Table” of all sub-contractors working on the project.

This is an iconic building which features so highly in the Manchester area and is a spectacular building am many ways which shows the forward thinking the Co-operative Group has for the future.

Customer Reference: –

Einstein wrote “we cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”  The brief for No1 Angel Square was reflective of the aspirations for the building, the catering service and a work, life, balance that will see the Co-operative Group into the next century. 

The designer’s interpretation of the brief was to not address the environmental expectations as if they were restrictive, but to understand that environmental function is just as much about performance as it is an emotional response. Striving to deliver a facility that delivers true environmental performance as a solution without understanding all the factors that work in and around an environmental system would not deliver a successful solution. The designers and in turn Airedale excelled at empathising with all the needs, restrictions and considerations that play part in developing a world class facility. Airedale in conjunction with the development design teams took the philosophy and aspirations of the concept designs and worked to achieve a functional system that holistically delivers outstanding performance.

John Ruskin once wrote “What we think or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do.” Airedale were successful in the tender to provide this outstanding facility not through savvy sales talk, or lowest prices but through success of delivering designer’s dreams and exceeding the client expectations.  No1 Angel Square is not about cost, it is about delivering a dream, a modern way of working, of living and of social conscience. Time will tell if this prototype building will be a success but because the team at Airedale chose not to be just suppliers but partners, we hope, nay expect it to be a great success!