|Service:||Architecture, Masterplanning, CGI, Stakeholder Engagement|
Working in partnership with The National Trust, Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and the people of Manchester, we are finding a future for the remarkable industrial heritage of the grade II listed Castlefield Viaduct.
In a post-pandemic world, it is more important than ever for people to have the opportunity to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of green, nature-rich parks and gardens. The year-long ‘Sky Park’ pilot will explore and test elements of design and operation, by gaining input from local audiences and partners.
The pilot marries the city’s proud industrial heritage with a modern urban park concept. It has three unique zones, which take visitors on a journey of discovery from the viaduct that ‘is’ to the viaduct that ‘could be’.
Visitors enter the viaduct through a welcome area. Like curtains at a theatre, visitors are presented with a green screen ‘living wall’, which obstructs their view of the viaduct, leaving them in eager anticipation of what they will discover in the next phase of their journey.
People pass the green screen and enter the next stretch of the viaduct. With minimal architectural or landscaping intervention, this zone focuses on showcasing the existing structure and inviting visitors to imagine potential future interventions.
At the third zone visitors are introduced to the viaduct that ‘could be’. This includes a garden filled with plants and shrubs contained within red COR-TEN steel planters, a respectful nod to the classic industrial red brick buildings so typical of the area. The placement of the planters references the effect people experience when travelling on a train, as objects rhythmically appear and disappear, allowing the eye to focus on the new planters in the foreground, with spaces between them to frame the long-distance views of the surroundings.
At the end of the third zone is the events building that has a large window showing the remaining half of the viaduct, completely untouched, encouraging visitors to imagine the possibilities of the viaduct’s future.
The long-term vision is to transform Castlefield Viaduct into a free-to-access park and meeting place for Castlefield residents and visitors.