KAMPUS is a new £250 million neighbourhood by HBD and Capital & Centric in Manchester city centre. Once home to Manchester Metropolitan University, the site is being transformed into over 500 apartments to rent across 5 beautiful, individual buildings, including Victorian canal- side warehouses and the brutalist 1960s tower. Rich with history and character KAMPUS will rediscover a forgotten part of Manchester.
KAMPUS will be a home for the city’s creatives and independents with two floors of independent bars, restaurants and shops. It will have a range of diverse spaces for residents and visitors to experience, including the Bungalow – a disused security cabin on stilts transformed into an event space – and Little David Street – a cobbled street closed off for decades which will be lined with café-bars and shops
Working with owner occupiers and local independents, KAMPUS will have a curated programme of seasonal events, pop ups and community initiatives that draw people into the neighbourhood. In the centre of the city but alive with nature, KAMPUS has two gardens full of trees, plants and flowers which are open to everyone.
Currently under construction the first residents will move into KAMPUS later this year with the development due for completion in 2021. The development has been phased to allow temporary meanwhile uses and pop ups to start bringing life into the site. The ground floor commercial space and garden has already been used to host a Christmas market and the Bungalow is currently hosting its first pop-up restaurant. Application: 30904 Rebecca Eatwell
How has KAMPUS made a promising start on the journey to completion?
Our first residents won’t be arriving until later this year but we’ve already started forming the community at KAMPUS. Last year we held the KAMPUS alternative Christmas market, solely for local independent traders, bringing together some of the city’s best artists, makers and food producers.
Held over four weekends during Nov/Dec 2019 the market brought hundreds of people back into a site that had been boarded up for years. It was the first chance for people to experience the new neighbourhood that’s being created and to see the garden at the heart of KAMPUS with its lush greenery and towering trees.
At KAMPUS we’ve kept what we can. People thought we were mad to keep the Bungalow but this ex- security cabin on stilts is now one of Manchester’s most unique venues. A flexible and creative space in the heart of the city, it’s our version of the village hall. A place for independents and new ideas to find their feet, it will see a series of pop-up residencies and community uses as the site comes to life.
We recently launched our first residency, Higher Ground, a pop-up restaurant from the ex-head chef at acclaimed Stockport restaurant Where The Light Gets In. Open Thursday to Sunday with a daily changing menu it brings together North West ingredients, Manchester brewed beer and natural wine in a really casual setting. With rave reviews and hundreds of people coming through the doors it epitomises the understated and inclusive community we’re creating at KAMPUS.
How are you responding to changes in changing demographics, shifting policy, transport habits and the climate crisis since winning planning and as the project unfolds?
KAMPUS is a response to more people choosing to live in city centres. By 2025 there could be 100,000 people living in Manchester city centre who increasingly will be in purpose built rented accommodation. Rather than multiple landlords and a poor rental experience, KAMPUS will be managed by aparthotel and build-to-rent operator Native. We’ll make it easy for residents with flexible tenancies, no deposits and services like dog walking and 24 hr repairs all part of the experience.
Located right in the centre of the city, by the canal, near the station and minutes from everything, KAMPUS has been designed for a car-less society. With only minimal car parking spaces and tons of cycle parking we’re also looking at car clubs and sharing. We made a conscious decision to keep what we can at KAMPUS. This includes the two listed Victorian shipping warehouses, the tower and its unique waffle ceilings and the Bungalow, an ex- security cabin on stilts.
Re-using existing buildings is not only much better for the environment but also gives a place the character and identity that new build just can’t deliver. Trees and planting are a huge feature at KAMPUS. A rare oasis of greenery in the urban centre, the garden will contribute to the wellness of our residents, create new habitats and help improve local air quality. A communal energy system maximises energy efficiency and all the buildings have high acoustic performance due to the city centre location.
What the judges said
The judges were impressed with this landscape-led project and how previously closed-off areas have been reopened to the public. The fact that this new place feels of Manchester was noted, as well as the human scale of its nooks and alleyways. The reuse of the existing security block is playful and creative.