Albert Bridge House

This group of buildings, next to the River Irwell, truly typifies the British response to international styles and ideas. There is an assured mathematical conservatism about much of the complex, quite fitting for a civic building, and a clear and legible series of spaces that divide and connect the component parts. This stoicism is contrasted by contemporary gestures that clearly drew influence from Scandinavian and European modernism; the wave form roof of the lower block, the curvilinear water tank atop the most cuboid form and the purple glazing that clads the link between the two main structures are the most evident. The composition is cleverly balanced, particularly when viewed from the opposite bank of the River Irwell. Materially, the Portland Stone cladding, although porous and subject to staining, picked up on a tradition of major Mancunian buildings from the inter-war period. The buildings sit fairly anonymously just inside Manchester city centre, it is only on closer enquiry that the pleasant formal and material statements really are exposed to the viewer.