Manchester is the third most visited city in the UK after London and Edinburgh. I can put a tick on it now. And you’ll see pictures of Edinburgh really soon on my Instagram! But let’s explore Manchester for now with this architecture city guide.

Here we are in another UK city that is growing rapidly just as Birmingham. If you haven’t seen it check it here




Walking along the canals of Castlefield is the best way to appreciate both the industrial heritage that combines with modern landmarks, such as the Beetham Tower. It’s just so peaceful here specially on Sunday morning and if you’re lucky enough with the weather you will have the most relaxing stroll ever!

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For more canals, there’s another post-industrial area worth a visit but located on the opposite side of the city. What’s peculiar here, in New Islington, is desolation, not a person, not a sound but I wanted to come here because of Chips, the residential building you see here down below. And yes, potato chips inspired Will Alsop to design it as three chips piled one on top of the other (even food can be a source of inspiration when we talk about architecture, have you seen the Gherkin in London!? Even though, believe it or not, that’s a genius shape to maximize a building sustainability).

I visited Alsop’s most famous building, the Peckham Library, and I talked about it on my previous blog Arkitalker.


I made a presentation about it when I was studying architecture and it was important for me to go to Peckham expressly to see it.

Reading and watching photographs or drawings of a building is good to learn something about it but then approaching the same one while walking, observing the surrounding, getting inside, touching it, finding details, noticing how the light creates shapes, how the materials used blend together, watching how people behave inside it, how they use the space, all these aspects lead you to know and understand in a deeper way what someone imagined and was able to make it real and accessible.

Well this was just to give an answer to those people who ask me “are you going to Peckham to see a library?????” or “why do you want to see a car park????”  or “why are we here? it’s just a train station!”. Oh I’ve got so many of these questions and statements!

So the redevelopment project is interesting and this area really needs to come to life. It would have been interesting to see how the inside looks though.


This is just a great place to take pictures of, even though it’s not modern and I’m all about modern and contemporary style. Apart from the building itself, it is a really well designed and functional library, I wish I have something like this close where I live or anywhere in London and I’d be there every day!


Lots of glassed surfaces in this area where the BBC has its offices. Interesting to explore specially because of the Imperial War Museum and The Lowry.


Having been in the Jewish Museum Daniel Libeskind designed in Berlin I always have some kind of high expectations when I visit other war-related museums he designed. And every time I end up with the same thought: the first one is great, all the others are just an attempt of reproducing the same anguish, sorrow, being uncomfortable feeling that follow you even when you leave the place. He imagined and created a sensorial building that I think it can’t be replicated anywhere else. If you have been there I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. But don’t get me wrong, I liked the Imperial War Museum, it’s a really attractive landmark mainly thanks to its shining aluminium case and its soar shape.

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The Lowry Theatre doesn’t look anything special from the outside but get inside and you’ll change your mind. From the extremely colourful hall, a mixture of vibrant purple, yellow, orange and blue, to the fully glassed bar it’s a pleasure to explore every corner of it. The space is really dynamic and varying so look carefully in every direction and you’ll find lots of interesting details. If you have the chance go at night, I’m sure it will be even brighter and fascinating.


There’s even a Calatrava bridge in Manchester! Beautiful as all of his bridges! I always have high expectation even towards Calatrava’s works but in this case he can always amaze me. The best one I’ve seen so far is in Bilbao, it’s beautiful from every angle.

Oh even in this case I’ve been told “are you sure you want to see a bridge!?”


Ordinary massive shopping centre but with a surprise. This high level link bridge! Not much to say, you just need to see it and cross it if you go to Manchester.


Got here by chance while walking but it’s a unmissable stop. Gorgeous lines and light. Superb!


And lastly I feel I need to mention the enormous quantity of street art that can be found here, even in the most unexpected corner of a wall. This part of the city is a real open-air art gallery.

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I have tons more pictures but I guess I bored you enough with these. If not you can always see more on my Instagram


All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo


  1. An excellent post well illustrated with well shot photographs. Good to read your perspective of one of my local cities. Perhaps you should do the same for the other one – Liverpool!

      1. Liverpool has some outstanding architecture. When you go, look out for the two buildings by Peter Ellis, Oriel House and 16 Cook Streeet

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