My Favourite Building: Manchester’s English Institute of Sport

Martin Bennett, regional director of quantity surveyor The Vinden Partnership, explains why he likes the English Institute of Sport.

What is your favourite building?
My favourite building is the Manchester’s English Institute of Sport.

What was its original function?
It was built specifically for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and features an eight lane 400m banked running track with covered seating for 6,500 spectators. It’s a fantastic space with a flexible track and field area, which allows it to play host to a number of sports.

Crucially, the inside of the building is just as versatile as outside – its indoor athletics hall has a 200m banked running track and a 60m sprint track with badminton, basketball and netball courts.

What is the style of architecture?
The building was designed by sport and leisure specialist FaulknerBrowns, and offers some of the best sporting facilities in Europe. The architecture is clean and contemporary and the building is constructed with modern materials to a very high specification. It was designed specifically to bring top-level sports to Manchester and features competition standard facilities for both athletes and spectators.

What do you like about it? How is it used?
Crisp styling or state-of-the-art facilities aside, it is my favourite building because of the legacy of sport in the north that it represents and the benefits that it offers to the local community.

I was lucky enough to be involved with converting the outdoor track into a 6,000 capacity stadium. With future uses for the Olympic stadium still unconfirmed, it was great to be part of a project that meant the original Commonwealth Games building could continue to benefit the local community.

The buzz around the Commonwealth Stadium and of the whole Sport City campus has been amazing during the Olympic and Paralympic games. This passion and excitement for sport is something that I believe will continue for many years as future Olympians train and compete there. Not including our two football stadiums, few other buildings in the region have hosted and televised such high profile sporting events or had world champions on their tracks and fields.