Revit and Navisworks aiding multidisciplinary collaboration for Europe’s largest restoration

Customer Case Story - Revit and Navisworks aiding multidisciplinary collaboration for Europe’s largest restoration – Manchester Town Hall



Manchester Town Hall

Graitec talks to Purcell Architects to discuss the refurbishment of Manchester Town Hall and the utilisation of Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Navisworks during design and to aid multidisciplinary team collaboration.

One of Europe’s largest renovations – Manchester Town Hall – in undergoing a monumental £330-million refurbishment to ensure its heritage for generations to come. The project draws talent and technological expertise globally to achieve progressive social and environmental requirements. Led by Purcell Architects, the team are refurbishing the entire 147-year-old Grade 1 listed building. Modern safety standards and accessibility features, including seven new lifts, are being integrated to improve visitor accessibility. Meanwhile, the project is contributing an estimated £5 million in social value. Graitec caught up with Purcell to understand how Autodesk Revit and Navisworks software are aiding multidisciplinary collaboration for effective design and delivery.

Software highlight: Autodesk RevitAutodesk Navisworks

Company: Purcell Architects

The building:

Designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse, Manchester Town Hall has served the community since it was built in 1877.  Affectionately known as ‘Our Town Hall’, the building hosts thousands of international delegations, civic guests, celebrations, and special events, each year. The Victorian building is central city, adjacent Albert Square, and regarded as one of the finest examples of Neo-Gothic architecture in the United Kingdom. It was described at the time as ‘essentially a building of the 19th Century’ having been fitted with a warm air heating system and a structure comprising 14 million bricks encased in Spinkwell stone. The building features a 280ft clock tower with 24 bells, 4,000+ windows, a 53-feet wide Sculpture Hall, 12 Ford Madox Brown Murals adorning the Great Hall and houses a collection of more than 3,000 items of furniture, textiles, silver, and ceramics. Mosaic floors and seven staircases lead from the ground floor to the first floor, including two grand staircases from the Sculpture Hall.

The renovation:

Following three years of investigations and surveys, approval for the Our Town Hall Project was given in 2017 and the building was closed in 2018 to allow work to begin. Social objectives were specified from the outset to ensure the people of Manchester would benefit directly. From employing local people and businesses to developing new learning and volunteering opportunities. Advocates for the reuse and adaptation of existing buildings, Purcell Architects are lead architects for the refurbishment. Their aim is to improve the building’s functionality, sustainability, and ease of maintenance, including the repair of internal and external deficits and renewing building services. Upgraded accessibility measures will also improve visitor flow and increase the visibility of the Town Hall’s many treasures. All wiring and plumbing are being replaced, and modern facilities, including communication links are being added.

The use of technology:

Behind the scenes, technology has played a pivotal role in the project’s planning, design, collaboration, and reconstruction. Using desktop and visual surveys to develop proposals for the electrics, ICT, lighting, heating, ventilation, and acoustics, has allowed Purcell to increase building efficiency and lower the carbon footprint whilst retaining the historic integrity and function of the architecture. Leveraging Autodesk programs Revit and Navisworks has proven instrumental in compiling the refurbishment requirements, informing detailed design, and communicating design solutions across teams. Using Revit, the team has been able to analyse building performance over its lifetime, meanwhile share realistic renderings and 3D views to effectively communicate complex design to the client.

Being able to use these in a unified environment has assisted with effective multiple team collaboration. Using Navisworks for its analysis has complemented the project’s collaborative and multidisciplinary team approach allowing better interoperability which has informed the final review stages of design and ensure effective delivery. One of the greatest challenges of retrofitting a large-scale heritage building is upgrading accessibility to bring the project in line with modern standards without diminishing the integrity of the historic fabric. To ensure universal access throughout the Town Hall, seven new lifts have been woven into the existing footprint, along with improved welfare facilities and better safety measures.

Revit was an essential tool in this complex reconfiguration.  Lower the carbon footprint whilst retaining the historic integrity and function of the architecture.

Revit and Navisworks aiding multidisciplinary collaboration for Europe’s largest restoration | Graitec - UK



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