Design review: St Peter’s Square, Manchester

Members of the networking club Young Entrepreneurs in Property visited the short-lived exhibition of five finalists for the makeover of the square.

Click on the image galleries below to have a closer look and pick your own winner

Here the five reviewers offer their views and pick a favourite from the anonymous five finalists.

Clare Lawrence, account director at MC2, specialist property PR and marketing agency: "My favourite design was definitely 032 it was exciting, modern and would offer lots of different places of interest for people to spend time; the rose garden, auditorium and water plaza, for example. St Peter's Square isn't currently a destination, it's a place that people pass through on their way somewhere else, but this design provides pleasant social spaces for the city's professionals, families and visitors to enjoy."

Lawrence continued: "It gives people a reason to spend time in St Peter's Square, outside of visiting the Town Hall or Library, which I think will be more and more important as the re-development of the adjacent buildings progresses. Some of the schemes de-cluttered and simplified the square in order for it to be used as an outdoor venue for live concerts or as a cinema, but my feeling is that we already have plenty of successful locations, such as Spinningfields, that can provide this. I also think that a square which features the city's war memorial and the new Peterloo memorial would be better suited to a design creating contemplative space rather than entertainment opportunities."

John Williams, director of commercial interior designer, Space Invader, said: "My favourite design was scheme 032 as it successfully and thoughtfully addresses the buildings adjacent to the square and provides links from some of the key buildings such as the museum, town hall and library. I also admired the sustainable aspirations of the scheme such as the walkway which moves slightly underfoot to create energy and the glass canopies it feels like it's in keeping with Manchester and its commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

"I also admired the simplicity of some of the other schemes that opened up the square to create a large civic space for community events and activities using the town hall complex as a back drop."

Tom Maskell, director of chartered surveyor Turner Southern, said: "I liked a number of the schemes but one stood out in particular. The 002 scheme including the large X detail, which refers in part back to the Peterloo Massacre was my favourite. By including historical events and usable interactive features as part of the design I think that this scheme is just right. Without people, spaces are just that, spaces, it is only by involving people that spaces become places.

"I particularly liked the seating under the trees up towards Princess Street, I'm a fan of green space in city centres.

"Another interesting point to consider is that whilst the competition deals with the public realm it is the buy-in of the surrounding landlords which will make St Peters Square work – ground floor leisure and retail uses will bring the area to life and I am sure that the successful scheme will be the catalyst for this."

Sarah Moulson, director of White Circle Art, said: "Many of the designs were interesting but they weren't as interactive as scheme 032. The level of detail in terms of the different material used was appealing to the eye and I welcome the modern application."

The exhibition of the St Peter's Square design ran from Thursday to Saturday last week. A winner is due to be picked later this year.

Design no. 002

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