Media City, Manchester - £4.25 million

Client: Peel Media
Landscape Architect: Gillespies
Awards: BALI Award 2011 -  Hard Landscaping Construction, Cost Over £1.5 million, BALI Award - Grand Award Winner 2011 

Background
 
Media City has been designed to provide a purpose-built home for creative and digital businesses including (but not exclusively) the BBC. The first phase, spread over 36 acres, will be completed in 2011 but there is the potential to use up to 200 acres of land over the next decade.
 
Our role
 
The Landscape Group was awarded the contract for the external works by Bovis Lend Lease at Media City in Salford Quays, the country’s first media city.
 
Our works included the laying of 30,000 square metres of natural stone paving, the cladding of walls, steps, terraces and a footbridge over the Canal.
 
The creation of the central piazza area saw the planting of large semi-mature trees and other more general planting, together with the creation of resin bound footpaths, the installation of granite planters, lighting and the installation of

surface water drainage. Individual pocket parks were created; these included ornamental planting, resin paths, lawns and dividing walls.
 
The developers and their subsequent tenants were concerned that this long term development delivered a longer term social legacy in this previously deprived area of Salford. The Landscape Group’s contribution to this was the recruitment, training and development of Landscape Apprentices during the project.
 
Challenges
 
The biggest challenges concerned the sheer size and complexity of and the exceptionally high quality expectations for this internationally high profile development. At any one time there would be in excess of 2,000 personnel working in and around the site. As building fit-outs were taking place after the hard landscaping elements had been installed, trying to protect the paving created a major challenge. This was overcome by liaising with other contractors and forming close working relationships but inevitably resulted in even further complicated logistics and planning. Liaison has also included the interfacing with the builders of a new metro station which is adjacent to Media City.

The Group employed a dedicated Logistics Manager to coordinate all deliveries to and movements on the site.  A large part of this project entailed the coordination of granite imports and planning ensuring that the right materials got to the right part of the site on a just in time basis. The materials arrived at Liverpool where it was transshipped onto the barges for its onward journey. Around three quarters of a million pieces of granite were delivered by barge along the Manchester Ship Canal. Not only was this a low environmental and traffic  impact delivery solution but a fitting mode of transport as this development is on land formerly owned by the Canal Company.  The Canal Company was formed in 1885; a previous development that transformed the economic prosperity of Manchester as this one is set to do again.  Upon unloading, the granite was logged and coded according to its eventual destination, stored and subsequently transported to each site zone, as required. 
 
The result of all this hard work is a unique, modern and yet surprisingly green urban cityscape that is at the centre of this remarkable development.

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