Sunlight House, Manchester

Ardmac  were chosen to complete the CAT A & CAT B refurbishment of key elements of the iconic Grade II listed Sunlight House by Aberdeen Standard Investments in Manchester’s Quay Street on behalf of Savills. The scope included four elements of the building, 13th floor, ground floor reception, refurbishment of the listed stained glass, cast iron framed dome over the health club swimming pool and also the remodelling of the external hard landscaping and a pedestrian link to neighbouring Spinning Fields.

The scope to the 13th floor included the full strip-out of walls, ceilings and Building Services, which was previously used as storage for the office suites below and carrying out a full CAT refurbishment. With the existing parquet flooring cleaned and resealed, walls re-plastered and finished in brilliant white and all services surface mounted to provide a contemporary wand well lit office space. Also, on the 13th  floor is the creation of brand new toilets facilities with a design in keeping with the new office space.

The building previously had two small reception at opposite corners of Little Quay Street, the aim was to create a new reception worth of a building of this size. The demolition of the former Grapes public house and adjoining reception areas to form one large entrance, together with the removal of part of the ceiling to create a double height zone above the entrance doors and reception desk. Also included is a café breakout facility and toilets. The proposed materials and finishes are of the highest standards to ensure that once completed the reception will be one of the most noted in Manchester.

The refurbishment of the listed stain glass cast iron framed dome over the health club swimming pool, is a huge challenge both from a practical and quality aspect. To work over the pool, whilst keeping the facility open for members of the health club was a challenge, with an engineered design scaffold to provide a working platform. Working closely with English Heritage to ensure the sympathetic refurbishment is undertaken. Also, the replacement of the existing solid metal cladding sheet roof, with clear glass, that when completed will allow natural daylight to be seen through the stain glass at pool level for the first time in living memory.

The remodelling of the external hard landscaping and a pedestrian link to neighbouring Spinning Fields. The existing hard landscaping of trees, seating area will be replaced with materials more sympathy to the age and status of the building. A mixture of heritage paving flags and kerbs, together with fixed seating and new trees will altogether provide an external space for the tenants to enjoy and provide the building with a thoroughfare towards the neighbouring business district of Spinning Fields.

In 2019, Sunlight House was named Commercial Refurbishment of the Year at the Insider Northwest Property awards held in the UK.

To read more about our Fit Out approach, read here 

Client: Sunlight House

Location: Manchester, UK

Size: 215,000 sq. foot

Duration: 40 weeks


“The significant capital expenditure at Sunlight House by Aberdeen Standard Investments has ensured this impeccably restored historic property has a bright future as a hub of high quality office space. The planned reception works will take it to the next level and further enhance the building’s appeal to professional occupiers seeking city centre space.”

Paul Crowe, Savills