Buildings we LOVE

The world is home to many beautiful and awe-inspiring buildings that capture our imaginations. From modern skyscrapers to ancient castles and temples, these structures stand as testaments to the human spirit, representing our ingenuity and creativity.

Beautiful buildings are often seen as works of art, but they are much more than that. Structural engineers play a vital role in creating these impressive works of art. They use their technical knowledge of materials and construction to develop the design and ensure that the building is safe and structurally sound.

Structural engineers are responsible for ensuring that the building is designed and constructed in such a way that it can stand up to the forces of nature, whilst meeting all building codes and safety standards.

The work of a structural engineer is invaluable when it comes to creating beautiful and safe buildings.

At BDI, we have worked on several remarkable structural buildings in Manchester, and we would like to single out a few of our favourites.

Barton Arcade

The Barton Arcade stands out among Manchester’s attractions, boasting a beautiful cast iron and glass structure complete with elaborate black and gold balconies that wrap around its upper levels. Above it all, is an awe-inspiring glass atrium ceiling.

The building is of four storeys with an attic, a long nine-bay facade to Deansgate, divided in half horizontally by a balustraded balcony.

Experts claim this is “the best example of this type of cast-iron and glass arcade anywhere in the country”.

The Grade II listed arcade was constructed by Corbett, Raby and Sawyer in 1871.

Over the years, Barton Arcade has undergone sensitive restoration, including a renovation in the early 1990s when BDI Director, Nick Forman refurbished the floor, along with cast iron stitching and repairs.

St James’s Building

St James’s Building is a high-rise, Grade II listed building on Oxford Street, Manchester. Designed by architects Clegg, Fryer & Penman. The 60m tall, Edwardian Baroque style building was first opened in 1912 as the headquarters of textiles printing and merchants’ company and now welcomes financial companies, medical councils and law schools to name a few.

This building is made beautiful with its Portland stone exterior and long façade with three slightly protruding pavilions with grossly inflated pilasters and pediments.

Again, BDI’s Director, Nick Forman, got the pleasure early on in his career to spend five years working around St James’s, in cranes and up scaffolding assisting with structural involvement of stonework and concrete repairs.

Other buildings we admire:

King Street Townhouse

King Street Townhouse in Manchester is one of the city’s grandest and most distinct buildings, known as “The King of King Street ”, due to its height and castle-like Art Deco design.

It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1928, but interestingly only constructed in 1933–35. The building is constructed of Portland stone around a steel frame and features carvings by local sculptor John Ashton Floyd.

Finally, a special mention to:

Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família, in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world. Designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), his work on Sagrada Família is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Construction of Sagrada Familia began in 1882, but it was not until architect Gaudi took over in 1883 that the project was transformed with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudi devoted the rest of his life to the project.  At the time of his death, less than a quarter of the project had been completed.


As we continue to progress and innovate, we can expect to see more amazing creations that can captivate the imagination of generations to come.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

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