Silver Winner in Higher Education | 2022

Mathew Friedmann
Eric Wright Construction
All Finalists

Eric Wright Construction

Manchester Met Institute of Sport, Manchester

Manchester Met Institute of Sport, Manchester: construction of research block, completed in 68 weeks. 

Client: Manchester Metropolitan University 

Contract: JCT, design and build 

Value: £14m 

About the Project

Repurposing this 1960s-built student union as a turnkey state-of-the-art research facility required refurbishment on an epic scale. As the project also involved large-scale demolition on a live campus with limited space and an elevated dual carriageway a few feet from the building, the risk was substantial. Matt Friedmann reduced that risk by retaining much of the existing structure.  

The original plan was to demolish the masonry facade and replace it with a steel structure to support the new cladding. But after exhaustive testing and exploratory works, Matt fixed the support brackets directly to the existing masonry. It delivered all the appearance and performance of the original intent, without the duration, cost and risk of demolition and primary steel installation. 

His treatment of a replacement steel structure in the building was equally astute. He had it designed so that it could be installed in and around the existing structure before any of the existing structural components needed to be removed. This eliminated the need for – and the risk associated with – temporary stabilisation or propping, capturing programme and financial savings. 

Solution-focused and determined, he also fitted a weighty M&E installation into a structure not originally designed to accommodate it.  

Matt’s control, leadership and energising of this project was so effective that he finished 10 weeks ahead of the original programme. He exploited the extra time by perfecting the finishes and thoroughly desnagging.