A look back over an exciting year for MECD

2015 has been a challenging, busy and inspiring year for our project.

Since January our team has grown, we've explored lots of ideas and we faced a few hurdles along the way.

As we create the new home for engineering at The University of Manchester, we look beyond the bricks and mortar and focus on the people and culture. This is an unprecedented and ambitious project and we are continuing to share the opportunities, vision and spirit of MECD with our staff, students and alumni.

However, the sheer scale of the site is only just beginning to come to light. Our award-winning architects, Mecanoo, illustrated how the iconic Beetham Tower can fit inside MEC Hall. 

The new build will be a groundscraper rather than a skyscraper. 

The MECD project has been described as a "game changer for Manchester" and quite frankly, it's true. Looking towards 2016, we will begin to flesh out the 78,000 m2 of space for you in greater detail, live our workplace vision and continue watching the project rise from the ground.

We are thankful to all who have so far played a part of our project - little or large. Your ideas, comments and suggestions have driven many discussions and we look forward to interacting more with you as we continue to develop the project.

As we get stuck in to 2016, it feels only right to take a moment to stop, think and look back at some of the most exciting moments of MECD throughout 2015.


The University unveiled its proposals to invest £350 million in creating a new engineering campus to the world.

The news was shared vast and wide across many websites and social media channels, amongst staff, students and alumni, plus the wider higher education sector. It strengthened the fact this is an incredibly exciting time for Manchester and how our project plays a vital role in the change and development of our city.


From travelling high up north and far down south, to flying across the pond to the USA and visiting neighbouring European universities, members of our team went on a series of exemplar visits.

The trips helped expand the way in which we think and inspired us to look beyond the four walls. With trips to Google, BBC Media City and HOME, the vibrant environments showcased what it means to work in a creative setting and how this can be made possible. 

The inspiring visits to MIT, The Francis Crick Institute, UCL and Technical University Delft brought to life the future of industry and higher education, whilst identifying the challenges we need to overcome.


Following a £1 million refurbishment, we celebrated the opening of the Barnes Wallis Hub. The hub provides students with an ideal mix of space for work and socialising - something which was previously missing. With high quality facilities, vibrant interiors and a distinctive sense of character and place - the Barnes Wallis Hub is a fantastic place to study, meet and enhance the student experience.

The Materials Science Centre was vacated to prepare the site for demolition and as a result we welcomed over 270 staff and students to north campus.

Staff, students and equipment from the School of Materials were relocated to different sites which received a significant investment. Facilities in the Morton Laboratory building and H floor in The Mill were substantially upgraded and refurbished for laboratory use by research groups.

In addition, the Maths and Social Science Building was re-opened after eleven years and now accommodates refurbished staff offices, teaching spaces, research offices and laboratories. To top it all off, former lecture theatres were converted into one of the largest, state-of-the-art Electron Microscopy suites in the UK!


Photographer: Arthur Yu Shi

Our history plays a big part in defining us as a University. We've been discovering more about our culture, values and community by getting under the skin of who we are and what has defined us throughout our history.

Over the past year, we've had some fascinating conversations with former and current staff and alumni. We've been able to capture useful information, fond memories, interesting facts and lots of wonderful photographs - one even dates back to 1945!

We released our first film which looks back at some of the ground-breaking, pioneering moments of the century, whilst looking to the future of innovative engineering at Manchester.

All these discussions and discoveries are helping to shape our vision for the design team to understand what makes us unique and how they can translate this into MECD. We are committed to ensuring our heritage is captured and celebrated - and you can be a part of this.


We ended 2015 with a reminder of how far the project has come in just one year.

Over the space of just a few months, we waved goodbye to Ronson Hall and Bowden Court and got a great bird's eye view of the beginning of MECD with our first timelapse video.

HELLO 2016

We are confident 2016 will be another challenging and inspiring year as we continue turning our project from an idea into reality. 

There is so much left to discover, so much more to develop and so many stories to be told. Let's make 2016 a year for sharing ideas, being open and excited as we begin to live and breathe the Manchester 2020 vision.

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