Avro lofts - Guaranteed to Fly
We're back doing what we do best with Avro lofts, in one of Manchester's last untouched Victorian Mills, Brownsfield Mill.
Built in 1825 and overlooking the Rochdale Canal, Grade II* Listed, Avro was once home to A.V. Roe & Co., Britain's first aeroplane manufacturer.
At Avro, Urban Splash have created 31 traditional, canalside loft apartments; some of the biggest in Manchester. Set over five floors our one, two and three bedroom lofts range from 829 - 2,600 sq ft, with feature walls of exposed brickwork and cast iron columns. The former triple storey 'Engine House' is now a unique three-storey town house at the heart of the development.
Manchester-born inventor Alliot Verdon Roe, founded A V Roe and Company in 1910 at Brownsfield Mill. A.V. Roe and Co, became one of the most successful British aviation companies building iconic Avro marques such as the Avro 504, Lancaster, Lancastrian, and the Vulcan.
Avro is situated in the Northern Quarter, one of the most exciting and culturally vibrant areas of the city and within close proximity to Ancoats, one of Manchester's largest regeneration areas.
Brownsfield Mill, first opened in 1825 as a "Room and Power Mill". It offered serviced floor space for rent and enabled entrepreneurial individuals and small companies to get established. Avro is also the only mill in the area to retain its original stair tower and chimney, now thought to be the oldest surviving mill chimney in Manchester, and a significant part of our great city's architectural heritage.
Once upon a time, the firm of H.W. Everard & Co. made elastic men's braces at Brownsfield Mill under the trade name 'Bulls-Eye'. The company belonged to H.V. Roe. His brother, Alliot Verdon Roe was then about to embark on an impressive career in aviation, which would soon see him become the first man to fly in England.
In 1906 Alliot applied for the job of Secretary of the Royal Aero Club. Although there were better qualified candidates, Roe's enthusiasm impressed the interviewers and he was given the job.
He began to build a series of flying models, and won a Daily Mail competition with a prize of £75 for one of his designs in 1907. With the prize money and the use of stables at his brother's house in West Hill, Putney, he began to build a full-size aeroplane, the Roe I Biplane, based on his winning model.
He tested this at Brooklands in 1907-08, recording his first successful flight on 8 June 1908.
Despite many setbacks, he persisted with his experiments and Alliot became sufficiently successful enough for his brother to suggest they form a new company together.
A.V. Roe & Co. was formed on 1 January 1910 with the registered office in the basement of Brownsfield Mill, it was here that aircraft production commenced. His triplane, ‘Avroplane’, was discovered in the roof space of Brownsfield Mill in 1924, and is preserved in London's Science Museum.
Lofts aren't new to us, we started developing loft apartments in the centre of Manchester over 25 years ago. From Britannia Mills in Castlefield, to Concert Square in Liverpool; we have pioneered city living in the north of England, reinventing old buildings and creating amazing new homes, workspaces and communities.
We're back working with our old friend, Roger Stephenson, fellow pioneer and architectural legend who helped us transform Smithfield Building in the heart of the Northern Quarter all those years ago.
"As a Manchester Architect, I am honoured to be part of the rebirth of this historic Manchester landmark...
"...I appreciate that modern Manchester is rooted in its industrial heritage and the old mills are part of its world changing history. Working with Urban Splash is energising and exciting. I am very proud of the homes we are creating together and the way we have made full use of the industrial qualities of the original building. Avro at Brownsfield Mill will be a very special place to live." Roger Stephenson
For the love of Ancoats
The area surrounding Avro is home to some of the city's best kept secrets, our local heroes. Regeneration in recent years has seen Ancoats' revival, now widely regarded as one of the hippest districts in the UK.
It’s one of those buzzy areas, unspoiled by commercialism, where locals love to hang out due to the area’s independent creative spirit, offering an eclectic range of food and entertainment away from the tourist throngs.
"Urban Splash is the developer that rescued decaying mills and warehouses, pioneered "loft living" in Britain and transformed industrial wastelands into inner-city property hotspots" The Sunday Times.
“We get involved with the community and give our customers a chance to meet and get to know our suppliers.”
Owner, Ancoats General Store
“We wouldn’t have done it for any other building - we fell in love with it. We have no concept other than feeding people and providing good quality food.”
Director of Altrincham Market & Mackie Mayor
"I’d always dreamt of having the café/roastery set up, mirroring what was going on in London. I liked the history of the area and the fact it was known as one of the world’s first industrial suburbs."
Founder, Ancoats Coffee
“We wanted to know how everybody else makes beer and to work out how to make it even better.”
Keith, Kit, Guy, Luke, Daniel, Nathan and Greg McAvoy
Seven Brothers Brewery
“We’re endlessly experimenting to create the best pizza we can. I’m obsessed with pizza - always have been.”
Co-owner, Rudy’s Pizza
Meet the designer
Established in 1979 by Roger Stephenson OBE, Stephenson Studio is an architectural and urban design practice born in Manchester. They have a long track record of creating inspiring buildings and spaces, and have spent the last 38 years designing the urban renaissance of the North West (some would say they are among the few who started it).
Urban Splash first collaborated with Stephenson Studio (then Stephenson Bell) with Smithfield Building, just around the corner from Avro lofts in Manchester's hip Northern Quarter. Smithfield Building served as the catalyst for the regeneration of this area, and helped to inspire a loft living revolution across the North West of England.
It's philosophy and architectural ethos has resulted in the practice winning more than 150 national awards for architecture, and it has extensive experience of working with buildings of historical significance, like Avro. Stephenson Studio have completed many of Manchester's most significant buildings, including Hallé, St. Peters in Ancoats, the Free Trade Hall Hotel and Chetham's School of Music, which was short-listed for the Stirling Prize.