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How We Built Britain

You are in: Manchester > How We Built Britain > A tall storey

A tall storey

There’s one building in Manchester you can’t help but notice. At just under 170m tall, this landmark development dominates the skyline. For the BBC series How We Built Britain, we spotlight the Beetham Tower, the UK's tallest living space.

Beetham Tower

Beetham Tower: vote now

The construction of the Beetham Tower on Deansgate has had an irreversible impact on the shape of our city.

Manchester's first true skyscraper dwarfs all other structures in Manchester and, with larger developments planned for the city, hints at a vision of the future.

But is it a good thing?

Many people view it as a bold architectural statement, a visible sign of Manchester's growth and prosperity. Others, however, see it as an eyesore, and a symptom of a new disease threatening to erupt across the UK - Tall Building Syndrome.

We present the facts about the Beetham Tower, and leave you to be the judge on Manchester's tall storey.

Beetham facts

The Beetham Tower is 168.87 metres (554ft) tall. It is the tallest building outside London and is the highest living space in the UK.

It stands 47 storeys above the city centre. The tower was originally planned to stand at 171m (561ft) tall, but had to be changed because of local wind conditions.

To compare, Blackpool Tower is 153m tall. The CIS Tower is 118m tall. The UK's tallest tower is Canada Tower in London's Canary Wharf, at 778ft (237m) tall.

Built at a cost of 155m, the Beetham Tower is visible from ten counties. The topping out ceremony, marking the construction of the highest point, was held on 26 April 2006 with a display of fireworks.

Sunset from Beetham Tower [pic: Duncan Lockwood]

Great views [pic: Duncan Lockwood]

The building was designed by architect Ian Simpson, who owns the duplex penthouse apartment on the top floor. It cost him a reported 3 million and is said to give him the furthest views of any resident in the UK.

The five star Hilton Hotel occupies the first 23 floors of the building, with 280 rooms available. The hotel officially opened its doors on 9 Oct 2006.

Cloud 23 bar is on the 23rd floor and offers views looking out across the city. It also features an area of glass in the floor looking down to the pavement below! The bar features Manchester-themed drinks such as the champagne cocktail Ena Sparkles.

At floor 24, the building juts out 4m from the floors below with a cantilever.

The floors above feature 219 luxury apartments – which have all been sold. Residents are said to include Manchester United and England footballer Gary Neville and X Factor winner Shayne Ward.

Contrary to common media reports, the Beetham Tower is not the tallest residential tower in the UK or Europe, not least because it is half hotel and Turning Torso in Malmo is entirely residential and taller.

It does however include the highest home in the UK. And, viewed from the side, is one of the thinnest skyscrapers in the world.

The site was formerly home to an old section of railway viaduct, which used to be the home of Bauer Millett, a luxury car dealership.

In May 2006, engineers were sent to the top of the Tower to fix an intermittent whistling noise which could be heard from as far away as Hulme. The noise was caused by winds hitting the the glass ‘blade’ on the top. The problem was solved by fitting attachments to the blade to reduce the noise.

Taller developments have been proposed for the city. Eastgate Manchester - 188m (617 ft tall) - is a 60 storey tower planned by InaCity for a site next to Piccadilly station. And a tower has been proposed for the Greengate site in Salford, which at 60 storeys and 660ft (201m) would top all of the above.

last updated: 18/09/07

You are in: Manchester > How We Built Britain > A tall storey

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