New commercial building for HMRC is woven into Salford’s history

Salford’s cotton-weaving heritage was the inspiration behind the Make Architects’ designed, highly flexible commercial office building at Three New Bailey.

The scheme has reinterpreted the red brick of the local 19th-century warehouse architecture, with a range of distinctive red brick weave facade treatments that give the building its identity and celebrates it.


Three New Bailey is a gateway building on the £1bn, 50-acre Salford Central masterplan being delivered by The English Cities Fund (ECF) – a strategic joint venture between national urban regenerator, Muse Developments, Legal & General and Homes England – in partnership with Salford Council. It has transformed a former surface car park and brownfield site into a thriving mixed-use destination, blending office and residential buildings around the River Irwell. As the first building to greet passengers exiting Salford Central train station, Three New Bailey establishes a strong but quiet presence fronting a new piazza. It was delivered for the Government Property Agency, specifically to become a new regional hub for HMRC.



The building’s simple and honest form was created in direct response to the HMRC brief and provides large, efficient, repeating floor spans with a side core to maximise flexibility in achieving their workplace needs for today and the future.

The highly articulated facade helps to break up the orthogonal mass of the seven-storey, 14,733m2 building and creates depth, movement and interest. Working closely with the brick contractor, Thorp on technical research and innovation into the application of woven elements to the facade resulted in the selection of two weave types: a basket weave to the short elevations and a twill weave to the long elevations which articulate a subtle variation across the proposal’s massing. Curved corner panels and glazing help the transition between elevations.

To emphasise the reading of the weave, vertical and horizontal facade elements are treated independently. Horizontal elements are formed with a ribbed and stacked red brick bond to emphasise the horizontal grain and maximise contrast with the vertical red brick elements laid in a stretcher bond.



Visual movement and interest are formed through the projection of facade elements away from the glazing line, in both the horizontal and vertical brick facade panels. The cladding is set out to project between a maximum of 400mm and a minimum of 100mm from the glazing line. This 300mm variation in depth seeks to capture and accentuate the passing of light across the facade, generating shadows that play across the surface of the building and, in turn, reveal the weave.

The roof level has a different treatment, with a distinctive perforated screen made of open Flemish bond, hit-and-miss brick panels to control views of the plant. Infilled Flemish hit-and-miss panels are also used on the core, providing a detailed brick pattern and texture to add grain to the facade.

The scheme offers a generous journey through the building, from a double-height entrance that invites visitors into a spacious and active lobby, with well-chosen materials to indicate the subtle quality and the red brick soffit and the internal spandrel panels bringing the external architectural language into the building.


Lead architect Stuart Fraser, said: “These are premium offices designed to fit a bespoke brief from HMRC, but the real story lies in the facade and it is was a real collaboration in the making, particularly with Thorp, the specialist facade contractor, and Bowmer + Kirkland, the main contractor. Together we have developed and installed a facade that is highly complex yet delivers a subtle and rewarding design intent and enriches the surrounding masterplan.”

Phil Mayall, regional director at ECF, said: “We certainly haven’t taken our foot off the accelerator this year and following Two New Bailey Square’s completion at the end of 2020, it’s fantastic to see another commercial office building completed and we look forward to officially welcoming HMRC and other government departments to their new home in early 2022.

“The design of Three New Bailey is unlike any other development in the city and it has become a firm favourite with those who appreciate striking architecture.

“New Bailey has truly become a magnet for business investment, and it continues to go from strength-to-strength – it’s become a place where people really do want to live, work and relax.”

Make Architects is working on two further sites for the New Bailey masterplan. Four New Bailey features a distinctive black metal diagrid structure, while plot A3 is clad in full-height living walls and is committed to achieving UK Green Building Council’s net zero carbon in operation targets, the WELL Building Standard, and a BREEAM Outstanding rating. Plot A3 is also a LETI pioneer project.

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