Regeneration company Urban Splash are bringing their acclaimed 25th anniversary exhibition “It Will Never Work” home to Manchester this week, with a two week long show at the Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Art.

The exhibition will give architecture fans a chance to see the story of some of the city’s best loved buildings; from Urban Splash’s early efforts at Ducie House in Manchester – once home to iconic homegrown musicians and brands such as 808 State, Simply Red, Ear to the Ground and ANS Software – their famous upside-down houses at Chimney Pot Park in Salford, and the company’s many mill restorations that helped establish the Northern Quarter and put Castlefield on the map.

There are also displays featuring contemporary Urban Splash developments like House – modular Town Houses, which have sold out now in Manchester and Salford but will be on offer again at New Islington in 2019 – and the under construction Avro building – the place in which AV Roe airplanes were created and where LS Lowry was once rent collector.

A launch event for the exhibition will be held on Thursday 8th November, at which Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham will speak alongside Urban Splash founders Tom Bloxham MBE and Jonathan Falkingham MBE; the panel will collectively reminisce about the changes in Manchester over the past two decades, as well as answering questions about what needs to be done in the city in the future. There will also be an exhibition after party at the Manchester International Festival Special Edition Bugzy Malone gig at Mayfield that night.

Tom Bloxham MBE explained: “We are delighted to bring this collection of works home to Manchester, the city in which Urban Splash is based and somewhere which has played a large part in our story with major regeneration schemes like New Islington and Castlefield which have helped create new districts for an ever-growing city. We’re looking forward to our launch evening and celebrating with everyone who’s helped us make our story happen.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Greater Manchester has undergone a massive transformation over the years and this exhibition showcases the role of Urban Splash on that journey. I know my fellow Mayors have enjoyed opening the show – with Andy Street doing the honours in Birmingham and Steve Rotheram in Liverpool – and I’m pleased to see it come home to Manchester.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the show and meeting many of the collaborators.”

Stephen McCusker, Senior Lecturer at Manchester School of Architecture, Manchester Metropolitan University, added: “It’s been great working with Urban Splash on this over the last few months and this will temporarily transform the space in our café. It feels like it’s the right place in Manchester to host this, at the heart of Manchester School of Art and Manchester School of Architecture. Both staff and students across the school are looking forward to the associated events we have planned alongside the exhibition and we are very much looking forward to welcoming all the other visitors this will attract.”

The exhibition has toured the UK in 2018 visiting Liverpool, Birmingham and most recently – London; it has been developed collaboratively by the RIBA’s National Architecture Centre, RIBA North and Urban Splash, giving fans of design and architecture the chance to learn more about the redevelopment of buildings across the country.

It chronicles 25 years of Urban Splash developments, focusing on the company’s RIBA-Award winning projects, exploring the context in which they were created and against the specific challenges and opportunities of the day.

Jonathan Falkingham MBE continues: “The exhibition has been curated to not only show the work we’ve done, but also to show the political, social and economic circumstances of the day.

“We’ve done this by splitting the exhibition out into distinct chronological periods, such as the early 1990s when cities – notably Northern cities – were poorly regarded, to the rise of urbanism and an appreciation for cities in the late 1990s, to looking ahead to the future and the creation of large-scale neighbourhoods – like the one we continue to create at New Islington.

“I’m very much looking forward to presenting our work to our home audience and look forward to seeing many Mancunians at the launch event in November.”

The exhibition launch coincides with the launch of an Urban Splash book of the same name which, over more than 200 pages, celebrates the developer’s successes. Manchester developments are again prominent in the book, which is available on Amazon:  

Anyone wishing to attend the exhibition launch on November 8th can secure their tickets via:



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