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Axis rising: 29-storey tower starts to take shape

Axis from the air

The timelapse and aerial drone photography show a number of key building elements now in place at the site in Whitworth Street, including some of the main architectural features which will be evident when the 29-storey apartment block is complete.

VIDEO: One Year On: Axis Rising.

The 2,200 angled glazed panels that will form the building envelope are starting to be installed. Manufactured off site, the metallic black, silver and bronze sections of these striking diacromatic panels will shimmer in the sunlight and appear to change colour giving a sense of drama to the exterior.

Other elements visible from the street include the external raking columns and the foyer’s exposed cruciform walls. The raking columns are the structures which allow the building to increase its footprint from the 300m2 wedge on the bank of the Rochdale Canal, to the 500m2 of each upper floor by transferring the load down to the foundations. Designed to appear as if they ‘clasp’ the building above, the five reinforced concrete columns will provide an impressive entrance to the first floor reception, as well as structurally supporting the building from floors 2 to 29.

The internal structural concrete columns are also in place and will be exposed as a design feature of the reception area. The concrete has been poured in a cruiciform shape, as viewed in plan, and the surface finished with a textured ‘timber’ effect. This will contrast with the polished concrete surface of the concierge/lift lobby walls which will be installed later in the project.

CGI Axis Tower

Construction director John Millward, from Russells Construction, said: “Installation of the glazed panels is a major milestone in the construction of this remarkable building. The finished aesthetic is starting to take shape and it will start to become the landmark we knew it would be, as the building continues to rise.

“The external raking columns and internal cruciform walls are major structural elements of the tower which will also form dramatic architectural features of the finished building. Both will remain exposed in their true form, and will be the first thing visitors see on their arrival.

“The internal exposed concrete elements will be visible from the outside through the fully glazed curtain walling, expressing the structure and referencing the columns outside. It’ll look fantastic and will be a real tribute to the work the team has managed and co-ordinated.”

The building’s main concrete core, housing lift shafts and staircases, is over half way up and is now a visible presence at the southern gateway to the city. The core has reached the 18th storey and floor slabs are up to the 14th. The tower crane was ‘jumped’ to the 21st floor (72metres) over the Christmas break and will be ‘jumped’ again to 110metres in April 2018 to allow for the upper floors to be completed. The safety screen has also been installed to protect both workers and the surrounding streets as the building continues to rise.

Towards the end of the project, the temporary deck across the canal will be removed and a new pedestrian footbridge will be installed, taking visitors from Whitworth Street straight into the reception area.

Axis will house 172 apartments and off-plan sales are already underway by developer Property Alliance Group.

Dylan Williams, development director at Alliance said: “It’s fantastic to see Axis taking shape and construction progressing so smoothly. As part of the structure is now visible, the complexity of this build is clear for all to see with the tower rising on a small, triangular site which measures just 761 square metres.

“Axis has attracted a huge amount of interest since it was launched. More than 75% of the apartments have been sold and exchanged, and we expect the remainder to sell during construction.”

Engineering support was provided by WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff.

Alliance Investments is managing the sales of the apartments.

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