Manchester, already home to architectural giants like Beetham Tower and Deansgate Square, is gearing up for an even more impressive addition to its skyline. Salboy, the driving force behind the Viadux project, is set to unveil Viadux Phase Two, a skyscraper that will rise above its counterparts, potentially becoming one of the country’s top five or eight tallest towers.
While Beetham Tower and Deansgate Square South Tower once dominated the cityscape at 169m (554ft) and 201m (659ft) respectively, the upcoming Viadux Phase Two is set to reach an awe-inspiring height of around 230m (750ft). If all goes as planned, this colossal structure will redefine Manchester’s skyline, offering breathtaking views from both within the city and the surrounding moors.
Viadux Phase Two, comprising an astounding 76 storeys, is not the sole star of this architectural show. Accompanying it is Viadux Phase Three, a 23-storey tower strategically positioned between Viadux Phase One and the iconic Beetham Tower. Viadux Phase Three aims to introduce 130 ‘affordable’ flats into the mix, providing a more inclusive housing option for the city’s residents.
The initial vision for the Viadux project was a far cry from the towering marvels now on the horizon. Originally slated for a 15-storey office block, Salboy’s ambitious takeover of the development site from Ask Real Estate has transformed the landscape into a Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-style narrative of city development, with towers reaching for the skies.
The architectural spectacle doesn’t stop with the towers themselves. The former railway viaduct, serving as a podium for the trio of towers, is undergoing significant changes. Portions along Great Bridgewater Street will be demolished, allowing natural light to illuminate what was once a gloomy, litter-strewn tunnel. This transformation will open up views into the vaulted nineteenth-century commercial spaces on the south side, shaping up handsomely against the backdrop of modernity.
Addressing concerns about the increased windiness around Castlefield/Deansgate Station due to the towering structures, Salboy assures the public that mitigations are in place. These measures, informed by a detailed study of the microclimate, seek to balance the city’s expanding skyline with the comfort and safety of its inhabitants.
In a surprising twist, the smallest tower in the Viadux project, Viadux Phase Three, has been designed with a considerate touch. Nestled close to Beetham Tower, it ensures that the views from the residential apartments remain uninterrupted. This design decision, allowing it to ‘sit beneath the Beetham Tower Cloud 23 bar,’ adds a touch of sweetness to the ambitious urban development plan.
As Manchester’s skyline continues to evolve, existing landmarks like Axis Tower and Beetham Tower are relegated to the role of spectators. Axis Tower, with its prominent screen, appears diminutive beside its 76-storey companion, akin to a small boy carrying an illuminated iPad. Beetham Tower, once the undisputed ruler of the Manchester skies, now stands with clamps holding its windows in place, its status overshadowed by the impending architectural marvels.
Salboy’s Viadux project not only symbolizes the city’s ascent to new heights but also reflects the evolving narrative of urban development. As Manchester reaches for the sky, it transforms not just its physical landscape but also the way residents experience and perceive the city—a testament to the dynamic spirit of progress shaping the heart of England.