modsocs A-Z of modern manchester

modsocs A-Z of modern manchester


an alphabet of 20th century greater manchester architecture, from the manchester modernist society. in regular instalments from aldine to zochonis.

Y is for YMCA

YPosted by Eddy Rhead Mon, April 09, 2012 11:28:34
Former YMCA - Peter Street

Woodhouse, Corbett and Dean


A little out of our period but included because it is a very modern building underneath its very grand terracotta facade. The core of the building is of reinforced concrete and represents an early use of the material in Great Britain. Probably because of the YMCA's origins in the USA the architects chose to use a system devised by the architect Albert Kahn and was necessitated by the fact the designs called for a swimming pool on the top floor - creating huge loads on the building. Sadly all of the internal evidence of the YMCA - the swimming pool, gymnasium and running track etc - has been removed. M2 3NQ

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Y is for York House

YPosted by Eddy Rhead Fri, May 20, 2011 00:05:19
York House 1911

Harry S Fairhurst

York House was one of the most important buildings built in twentieth century Manchester and must lay claim to be Manchester's first Modern building and one of Europe's first. Its importance was such that, when threatened with demolition, Walter Gropius himself sent a letter of support to the campaigners. The modernity of its design came at a time when Modernism as concept was still in its infancy and its Modernist credentials were not immediately obvious or deliberate. It was the cascading rear wall of glass which drew the attention - a purely functional design device - designed to bring the maximum amount of light into the textile showrooms within. The idea of external glass walls, with no obvious masonry support, became central to Modernist credo and yet York House pre-dated more noted Modernist buildings by over a decade. Its influence did not go unnoticed however and a campaign to save the building from demolition culminated in an exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1968. Despite being listed in 1967 it was demolished in 1974.

Sited on Major Street, Manchester but now demolished

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