Photography © Andrew Haslam Photography (

A bronze façade featuring integrated Rundum Meir garage doors for two new townhouses in central Manchester has been uniquely designed to reflect the architecture of the nearby John Rylands Library, one of the city’s most famous neo-Gothic buildings.

The duo of four storey, high specification private dwellings designed by Snook Architects for regeneration specialist Watch This Space have given new purpose to an unused site nestling between two post-industrial buildings close to Deansgate. Their full height bronze façade delivers a striking external appearance that takes a distinctive visual cue from the library, located opposite.

The houses are designed around an inverted living approach, enabling the architects to maximise the footprint of the site and use the space to its full potential. Above the garages are floors accommodating the bedrooms, with the living, dining and kitchen areas on the upper floors, and a rooftop courtyard/garden completing the arrangement.

The aluminium façade of both townhouses features laser cut and acid-etched lacy blind tracery patterns that match those in the windows of the library, a late Victorian neo-Gothic building which opened in 1900 and is now part of the University of Manchester.

The lacy pattern extends over the full height of the façade which includes large folding/sliding shutters. These balance privacy with natural light requirements for residents during the day whilst being eye-catching at night as internal light shines through the laser cut pattern.

This design extends into the twin side sliding sectional garage doors manufactured and installed by Rundum Meir, which effectively deliver a sliding façade at street level. Working closely with architect Neil Dawson, Rundum Meir’s designers were able to replicate the design with total consistency and manufacture in Germany using acid etching across the six aluminium sections.

Neil Dawson of Snook Architects said: “Watch This Space approached us to look at how they could transform this city centre site and we immediately saw the potential to take design inspiration from the nearby John Rylands Library. The resulting façade is unique, and through the movement of the shutters and garage doors during daily life it is constantly moving and changing.

“The laser cut pattern means that the building really comes to life at night as the internal light makes the intricate façade design a stunning feature. To be able to match this styling in the garage doors was crucially important and the result reflects the bespoke craftsmanship provided by Rundum Meir.”

The twin Rundum Meir sliding garage doors each provide a clear opening of 3.8 m for easy vehicle access from the street. Hand made using extruded aluminium, the fully automated bespoke garage doors have an automated pedestrian door as well as the side sliding door that demonstrate the design flexibility offered by Rundum Meir, who create every garage door to meet project requirements.

In addition to the side sliding sectional doors supplied for this central Manchester project, bespoke Rundum Meir garage doors are also available in ‘round the corner’ side sliding, overhead sectional and up-and-over styles. These are all designed by its UK team, manufactured to the highest standards in Germany using the finest quality materials, and then assembled back in Britain prior to installation.