Ancoats Public Realm, Manchester - £4.2 million
Client: The Ancoats Urban Village Company (Manchester City Council, North West Development Agency and English Partnerships)
Landscape Architect: Camlin Lonsdale
BALI Award: Best use of Lighting - 2010
Described as one of the ‘cradles of the industrial revolution’, Ancoats was a thriving industrial district from the late 18th century onwards. Since the 1990s, its rich heritage has been increasingly recognised, and with its proximity to the city centre, Ancoats has been the focus of substantial regenerative planning.
Appointed as Principal Contractor, The Landscape Group completed regeneration works to this 19 hectare high quality public realm within Manchester’s conservation area. Upon completion, the area was revealed as a spectacular public open square with facilities for special events and
performances, as well as a place where people can meet, relax and interact, and children can play safely .
Works began with a series of demolitions to existing buildings, which included an old ice cream factory and a number of garage units. Once the site was cleared, extensive earthworks and the installation of a below-ground drainage system completed preparations for the regeneration works to begin.
Extensive works were carried out to the rear of the square creating new car parking facilities, and a variety of road materials including asphalt, granite, Yorkstone flags and tactile paving, were used to differentiate the surrounding streets.
The main focal point to the public realm is ‘The Peeps’ artwork feature. Substantial foundations were laid to withstand the installation of five, four metre concrete frames housing high
definition transparencies panes lit with linear LED luminaries integrated into the art framework.
Each panel illustrates images relating to the textile industry from which Ancoats was borne.
The team coordinated the installation of the artwork and held several workshop meetings prior to the structures being delivered and erected on site.
A series of bespoke street furniture framed the square’s sunken granite sett area. Furniture included seating ‘bales’ formed from hardwood layers to represent cotton bales, and durable benches made from hardwood and steel.
The square was completed by the installation of a pressure sensitive lighting scheme within the sunken area, as well as access lighting throughout the scheme.
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