Riverside House, built in the 1860s, is a Grade II-listed building, adjacent to the old railway goods yard at New Bailey in Salford and located directly alongside the River Irwell. The building was locally listed but had stood in ruins for a number of years, before being acquired by the English Cities Fund for re-development. The main building structure was heavily damaged and the decision was taken by the fund to retain and repair the existing brick façade and construct a new, four-storey CAT A office with a brand-new structure. Muse then took the decision to relocate to Riverside House and signed a lease agreement with the fund.
SpaceInvader had previously worked with Muse on a number of residential projects and the developer had enjoyed the company’s process and approach, going on to choose them as the design partners for its new, future-facing Salford scheme. A thorough initial research stage was undertaken by SpaceInvader at the project’s outset to establish the brief and key objectives, which included prioritising substance over style, whilst at the same time providing a great-looking shop window and incorporating a new approach to ways of working that would promote collaboration and foster mutual appreciation, awareness and recognition within the Muse team.
The intent for the new office was to allow the Muse team to move to an agile way of working, where desks were not allocated to individuals. Desks would be clear at the end of each day, with belongings stored in a locker. The overarching rationale was to provide colleagues with different places to work better suited to their tasks, whilst encouraging improved collaboration. By identifying the differing needs of all colleagues, the team was given options of where to work, knowing also this may change again in the future as the business and the demographic of future employees evolve.
The riverside location was also key to the design. Views of the river from Riverside House and the river’s effect on the surrounding city are at the heart of the concept. Not only does the river affect people, but also the built environment, with natural materials which make up the riverbed influencing the surrounding city. The fit-out also makes reference to that, by keeping an underlining industrial aesthetic throughout.
SpaceInvader liaised with the building’s refurbishment architects to ensure the design reduced waste as well as rendering the perfect space plan. Sustainability and waste reduction were major aims of the project, whilst the concept also needed to reflect the building’s proximity to water and nature – with views, biophilia and outdoor decking all key.
Photography: SG Photography