MBLA Architects + Urbanists

When I started researching the architects of the Manchester Metropolitan University's Aytoun Library I found a reference that said the architects were Mills Beaumont Leavey Channon, but I couldn't find that practice.  Then I discovered MBLA with Mills and Beaumont as directors and listing the library among their projects, so clearly there have been changes made within the practice since the building was finished in 1993.  Today, MBLA work out of a Manchester office and they describe their practice as follows, "MBLA is an award winning practice with an extensive portfolio of architecture and urban design. Since our foundation in 1988 we have established a reputation for elegant, contemporary design, novel solutions and a flexible approach to challenges."

Aytoun Library Extension, FORMER Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
Aytoun Street & Whitworth Street - 1993

MBLA say of this building, "The new library and information technology building for the Manchester Metropolitan University on their Aytoun Street campus provided the institution with its first new academic building in almost two decades.  The brief called for the design to be efficient; it also had to pronounce the institutions recent elevation to university status.  The design works as a contemporary addition to MMUs site and completes the urban composition of the UMIST building and Manchester College within the conservation area around Whitworth Street.  It is a fundamental premise of the offices manner of design that buildings form a strong relationship with streets and spaces and adjoining buildings. We aim for our architecture to compliment and enhance the existing qualities of urban space as well as reinforce it. This is achieved at the library by the form and transparency of the skin of the building and by the celebration of the entry sequence.  The southern facade takes its form from two opposing radii, one defining the corner of the street, the other ending a primary vista down Cobourg Street. Internally, within the spaces created by these two coinciding geometries, the large open-plan reading and study areas are located. These contrast with rectilinear service spaces, defined as a thick wall on the north face of the building accommodating staff, seminar and utility rooms."


The Oxford Road Wing of the Royal Northern College of Music, Oxford Road - 1997 - 1998

This building, faced in granite and grey brick accommodates two double-height orchestral rehearsal studios, 17 practice rooms for groups of up to 4 players, the senior management administration suite, general teaching rooms and a headquarters for the Manchester Camerata Chamber Orchestra.