Old Granada Studios.


Creative Tourist

Everyone loves a landmark building, don’t they – the sort of “event architecture” that’s designed to draw in the tourists and make the cup of local pride runneth right over. We’ve picked the best buildings in the north – from a Sheffield tower block to a Manchester Cathedral – for our guide.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Old Granada Studios

    Old Granada Studios, Quay St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3HN

    Arriving into Manchester by train, it was once the red neon Granada TV sign that beckoned, marking the heart of Granadaland on the city’s skyline. Built in 1956, Granada Studios was designed by architect Ralph Tubbs, who was also responsible for the Dome of Discovery, a handsome concrete and aluminum dome which sat on London’s South Bank during the Festival of Britain in 1951, and went some way to popularising the Modernist style amongst Brits in the post-war years. In his obituary, published by The Independent, Tubbs is noted as an architectural “herbivore”, rather than a carnivore; he favoured Modernism as a movement concerned with form, precision and an alliance with nature.

    – Stevie Mackenzie-Smith


  • 2. The Tetley

    The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ - Visit now

    Alone amidst a pan-flat landscape, The Tetley stands resolute in its art deco splendour. Whilst the rest of the former brewery has been flattened to make way for an expanse of car parking spaces, the former headquarters, built in 1931, have been spared from this end. Carlsberg bought out Tetley in 1998, then shut down operations at the brewery in 2011, leaving the future of the building hanging in the balance. Concerns grew after English Heritage refused to recognise its historic merit – but then the Danish brewery stepped back in as the unlikely hero. In an unexpected collaboration, Carlsberg and Project Space Leeds guaranteed that The Tetley would have a future.

    – Alex Croll

  • 3. Park Hill Council Estate, Sheffield

    Illustration of Sheffield's Park Hill housing estate.
    Illustration by Jo Peel

    Park Hill Council Estate, Sheffield, Rhodes St, Sheffield, Yorkshire, S2 5SB - Visit now

    Park Hill put into practice some of the architectural theories that were circulating in the 1950s. Its architects, Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith, were young idealists, enamoured of Le Corbusier’s modernist Unité d’Habitation and his views on the social power of architecture. The idea was to keep the existing social structure intact, but transpose it into “streets in the sky”. For example, rows were named after the terraces they replaced and the decks were wide enough for milk floats and socializing. The design incorporated four pubs, a school, play areas and around thirty shops – it catered to the needs of a healthy society, all in one place. Like so many utopian visions, however, the dream didn’t last.

    – Kathryn Hall

  • 4. Manchester Cathedral

    Manchester Cathedral. Illustration by Simone Ridyard.

    Manchester Cathedral, Victoria Street, Manchester, M3 1SX - Visit now

    If Manchester Cathedral could speak, it would have a few tales to tell. Of course it would – it dates back to the 1400s. Since then the place has outlived various attacks: during the Civil War, by overenthusiastic 19thcentury builders wielding Roman cement, by the Luftwaffe, and, in 1996, by the IRA’s behemoth bomb.

  • 5. Oriel Chambers

    Illustration of Oriel Chambers and the two buildings next two it,

    Oriel Chambers, 14 Water Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 8TD

    Oriel Chambers lies nestled between the grandeur of Water Street’s two other famous residents – Liverpool Town Hall and the Liver Building. Sit on the steps of the India Buildings opposite and admire this Grade I-listed wonder, controversial when it was first built, but described by art and history scholar Nikolaus Pevsner as “one of the most remarkable buildings of its time in Europe.”

    – Alex Croll

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