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Sunlight House, Manchester

Sunlight House is an iconic 1930s commercial office building in the city centre of Manchester. Grade ll Listed, it was designed and developed by Manchester architect Joseph Sunlight. The building harks to the commercial offices of early 1900s art deco Chicago and was the tallest building outside London when erected in the 30s.


In common with other listed buildings, we gained a unique insight into the history of the building through extensive research. This enabled us to justify works to the building in a meaningful historic context.


The drivers for our work were the need to improve the tired accommodation and facilities to attract tenants, and to ensure the iconic listed building remains a viable commercial offering in an evolving city centre, especially being located on the edge of Spinning Fields. Of particular concern is the confusion caused by having two entrances, each with its own lift/stair core.


The works briefly comprise the following:

• New entrance from Little Quay St and associated high quality landscaping. We secured consent to remodel the ground floor, relocating two poorly configured corner entrances into one large central reception area with a new double height volume. The decorative cast iron façade was renovated, and a new planar glazed double height entrance screen carefully inserted.

• Restoration of the central stained glass dome, located in the biggest and finest light well in the North, possibly anywhere, and reinstatement of glazed over roof. Below this dome is the astonishing, historic, swimming pool and the view looking up is now spectacular.

• Internal modifications to form an extended and reconfigured entrance and central reception, to allow better security, with a new seating area and café.

• 13th and 14th floor renovation and improvements to enable vacant suits to be let. Former cellular offices, long used for storage spaces, were combined to form two large bright characterful suites with reinstated roof lights.


Heritage services provided by Atelier Heritage.

Interior design by Space Invader 

Client - Scottish Widows Investment Trust

Project Management by Savills Manchester office.

Internalphotography Mikedinsdale/Midiphotography

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