Toast Rack (building)

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Hollings Building
Fallowfield campus, Manchester Metropolitan University.jpg
The Toast Rack and Fried Egg
Alternative names The Toast Rack
General information
Status Grade II
Type Academic
Architectural style Novelty architecture
Location Fallowfield, Manchester
Coordinates 53°26′51″N 2°13′00″W / 53.4473854°N 2.2167121°W / 53.4473854; -2.2167121Coordinates: 53°26′51″N 2°13′00″W / 53.4473854°N 2.2167121°W / 53.4473854; -2.2167121
Construction started 1957
Opening 1960
Renovated 1994
Owner Manchester Metropolitan University
Design and construction
Architect LC Howitt

The Toast Rack, or the Hollings Building by its official name, is a university building in Manchester, England. The building was completed in 1960 and has been used continuously by Manchester Metropolitan University since opening. It was designed by the city architect, Leonard Cecil Howitt and is known as the Toast Rack due to its distinctive form.

The pre-eminent architecture critic Nikolaus Pevsner described the building as "a perfect piece of pop architecture".[1] It was Grade II listed in April 1998 by English Heritage who describe the structure as, "a distinctive and memorable building which demonstrates this architect's love of structural gymnastics in a dramatic way".[2] To others the building symbolises the ideals of the Festival of Britain and architectural positivity following World War II.[3]

The building's structure consists of a concrete frame with a brick infill on the bottom half of each storey. The building is seven storeys high and its hyperbolic paraboloid frame continues on the exterior, hence the toast rack comparison. Although the building's unorthodox form is playful, its tapering shape also helps to divide space into varying sizes for larger and smaller classes. A semi-circular restaurant block is attached to the west and is informally known as the Fried Egg.

Manchester Metropolitan University are due to leave their Hollings Campus in 2013 as they consolidate their facilities towards the city centre.[4] It is expected the Toast Rack will be sold off and it is hoped it will be renovated.[5]


  1. ^ "Toast Rack / Hollings Building". Retrieved 2012-11-04. 
  2. ^ "Hollings Building at Manchester Metropolitan University". English Heritage. Retrieved 2012-11-04. 
  3. ^ "The Toast Rack, Manchester". Retrieved 2012-11-04. 
  4. ^ "End in sight for ‘Toast Rack’". 1 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-04. 
  5. ^ "Is it the end for Manchester's iconic Toast Rack building?". Manchester Evening News. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-04. 

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