original publication material - courtesy of Foster + Partners
Budenberg HausEdit profile
The development has created nearly 300 apartments on a brown-field site in Manchester with a
combination of new and converted industrial buildings. The concept makes the most of its
waterside location, while reinforcing the residential character of Woodfield Road. The project
consists primarily of small one and two-bedroom apartments arranged in pairs of split-level section
apartments one above the other, each entered from a mid-level access gallery.
Two stepped blocks rising to seven levels mark the transition between the low-rise housing scale
on Woodfield Road and the larger scale industrial units north of the canal. Each block is folded
around a tall and narrow entrance courtyard, which contains all vertical circulation in the form of
open stairs, lifts, and galleries that lead to the front doors of the flats. The stepped section of the
flats provides a generous living room of one-and-a-half storey height with fullheight windows and a balcony. Single-level bedrooms are arranged above and below the access
gallery and face towards the courtyard. At ground level there are single level one-bedroom
apartments with improved access. At roof level there are larger two and three-bedroom penthouses
with generous south facing roof terraces. The rounded ends of the blocks cantilever out over the
canal and consist of tall, single-level flats.
A high building quality is achieved through repetition and pre-fabrication. Exposed pre-cast curved
concrete slabs form the ceilings of the flats and create thermal mass. They also contain short
horizontal service runs in a hollow floor zone. A semi-basement garage has also been constructed
under the entire site to accommodate 336 cars.
The recent completion of Budenburg Haus 2 and 3, two seven-level apartment blocks by Foster +
Partners, concludes the Budenberg Haus Projekt development, a complex of 290 apartments that
make a transition between the low-rise residential character of Woodfield Road and the larger scale
industrial buildings north of the Bridgewater canal. The two stepped forms of Haus 2 and 3
transform what was a downtrodden brownfield site into a thoughtful mix of primarily one and twobedroom, split-level apartments.
Each Haus exploits a curvilinear plan to maximise aspects to the grassed courtyard and canal or the
distant patch-worked roofscape, with generous perimeter doors 1.5 storeys high that open to an
external living space. To accommodate this unusually expansive spatial arrangement, the 257
residential apartments are arranged in vertical pairs that are entered from a shared mid-level access
gallery bridging a striking red vertical circulation core. This split-level configuration presents a
variation of 18 apartment types, avoiding the repetitious selection that is common to many
The uppermost levels of the blocks cantilever over the canal and contain large two and threebedroom penthouses with expansive south-facing roof terraces, while single-level, one-bedroom
apartments at ground floor have access at grade. An undulating court between the original
Budenburg House and Haus 2 and 3 provides a central focus for each block and creates a place
for inhabitants to share, while also allowing space and privacy for each apartment. A semi-basement
garage spans beneath the entire site and accommodates 336 cars.
Significantly, this is a pioneering residential scheme in the UK for its use of Combined Heat and
Power (CHP). Rather than drawing electricity solely from the national grid as is usual, a percentage
of the required electrical load is generated in situ through gas turbines located in the plant room.
This improves the efficiency of delivered power by 85 per cent, consequently reducing CO2
As well as being environmentally friendly, the scheme is also socially inclusive and 29 of the
apartments are reserved for either social rent or shared ownership. The social housing apartments
are identical to those owned privately and are scattered throughout the development in an effort to
create seamless tenure.
description by architects