Geigy Office and Laboratories

This apparently unremarkable series of buildings is amongst this collection by virtue of the loss of the significant University Math’s Tower, also by Scherrer and Hicks. The practice no longer exists, merging to become, at one point, Dane Ashworth Scherrer & Hicks, before further rebranding. There is a history of buildings of an industrial typology by the firm; their water towers at Baydon (1972) and Bishop’s Storford (1977) were exemplar and award winning. The burgeoning petro-chemical industry of the post-war era formed the mainstay of the practice’s work in Manchester. The buildings in Trafford Park were commissioned by Geigy for the Ashburton Chemical Works and consisted of laboratories, offices and a welfare building. The high levels of atmospheric pollution in the area lead the design team to specify inert materials for the envelope of the buildings, namely timber curtain walling with infill spandrel panels of Vitroslab; this modular system was employed throughout. The scheme also employed a fully filtered mechanical ventilation system and pressurised air to trap odours in particular areas. As with many buildings of the time this project was afforded its public art and a mosaic mural by Jo Mayo symbolising the historic association of Geigy and the chemical industry was displayed in the original foyer.