The Enterprise Centre, Wythenshawe

The core values of the Enterprise Centre are to provide affordable, all –inclusive, rentable space and business advice to the local community. Alongside office space the building also houses incubation units where start-ups are fully supported while they find their feet. There is a management team on site who are not only available for business support but ensure the centre runs smoothly with all the varying tenants’ requirements being met as efficiently as possible.  However with the centre nearly full, at the time we became involved, demand for business space had outstripped supply.

The main challenge was to implement a scheme that would allow The Centre to develop and grow without any enlargement of the building footprint or major construction work. The building was formerly occupied by a local housing association however as their services increasingly went online the building became available to the local community, and was repurposed as The Enterprise Centre in 2011. At that time the fit-out was very simple and over the years various design choices had become dysfunctional meaning the whole building needed to be looked at in a more comprehensive and holistic way. A direct legacy of the building’s former use meant there was a clear pattern of ‘Back of House’ staff areas and ‘front of house’ public areas which needed to be broken down to allow the centre to operate more coherently. Another important part of the brief was to soften the reception and the immediate experience upon entering the building and make it much more welcoming. To summarise; providing more office accommodation, reconfiguring the flow through the building and preparing a simple master plan for future development became key drivers for the scheme.

After an initial meeting on site KITSON Architecture provided a raft of suggestions and various different, detailed, layouts in response to the client’s needs and stakeholder feedback. This provided the client with a ‘shopping list’ and forward plan for the centre. From this the client could select various design ideas and implement them in a phased programme of works. This approach meant that various interventions could be rolled out while the centre remained fully operational and when the appropriate funds became available. The end result is a simple but elegant enhancement of the existing space available which responded to the detailed brief, stakeholder requirements and helped ensure the future viability of this important community asset.