The Century Building (1938-40) is Marcus Barlow’s vertical Streamlined Moderne updating of his Modern Gothic Manchester Building on the next corner completed 6 years earlier.
With its abstracted corner tower, uninterrupted vertical fins and boldly horizontal and stepping streamlined canopy (the soffit is particularly notable), the limit-height Century Building is smartly Moderne. Common to both buildings, however, was the external cladding material: faience-glazed terracotta tiles, which Barlow used frequently as they provided a permanent and impervious finish. Wunderlich Limited, producers of faience, used the Century Buiilding in their advertisements, saying of it: ‘it gives a permanent freshness and sparkle to this fine building. Window spandrels are in hand moulded terracotta glazed neutral grey to achieve an arresting architectural contrast’.