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Barton Square, Manchester, M17 8AS
Leach Rhodes Walker
“This was the largest project we had undertaken in our 135-year history and working to a highly complex design, within the parameters of an existing building; we required the support and knowledge base of Marshalls to ensure we delivered the highest quality scheme on time and budget to universal praise from the client and main contractor.” Neil Prior, Director, A Andrews & Sons Ltd.
There can be challenges to overcome when blending new and old architecture, but the design of Barton Square in Manchester is an excellent example of what can be achieved. Owners Intu wanted the designs for the new retail and leisure space, to tie sympathetically with the connecting Trafford Centre, giving architects Leach Rhodes Walker the challenge of sourcing new materials to blend with a shopping centre that had been built some 20 years earlier.
Specification work began mid-2017 and through the tendering process A Andrews & Sons Ltd nominated Marshalls as their supply chain partners for the natural stone elements of the flooring areas.
To ensure the stones used for the flooring blended harmoniously with the previously sourced stones of the Trafford Centre we had to look outside of our core range of products. Using the expertise of our Natural Stone team, alongside our in-house Geologist and Sourcing Director, Rory Kendrick, we began to work with our trusted suppliers to find stones that would fit with the Architects chosen pallet. A six colour mix of granites and marble was agreed with the chosen stones sourced from China and Italy.
Large sample panels were cut at source and a full client team visit took place in early 2018 so we could demonstrate what the materials looked like and show how they sat together in full scale to help ratify the design concept and intent.
Additional factory visits with the full client team were made throughout the process, these visits included visual inspection and dry lay mock ups to agree the final palette of material as well as a general audit of the facilities, the supply chain and logistics appraisal. Throughout the process Marshalls staff based at our office in China made frequent visits to the processing factories to ensure standards and timescales were being met.
The designs for the flooring area of Barton Square included over 200 individual special components to support the vast area of standard rectangular tiles, many of which had to be waterjet or CNC cut for precision fit pre-delivery to site. Due to the shape of some of the special units, transporting them across the high seas was a significant risk, so using our own in-house and partnered masons’ we cut from slab in the UK to minimise waste/loss wherever possible.
Working through 50+ drawings collectively, a schedule was agreed, along with how materials would be crated, transported, stored in the UK and delivered to site on call off. The time spent here was priceless to ensure we supported not just delivery of the programme but worked ahead of time to allow the contractors to plan and react accordingly.
Installation took place over an 8-month period and the contractors, A Andrews & Sons Ltd were excellent in their communication, preparation of material bills and ultimately in the application of stone on site.Neil Prior, Director, A Andrews & Sons Ltd.