SpaceInvader Design, Lazerian and Artin devised the new pavilion design. Credit: via planning documents

Manchester approves Piccadilly Gardens pavilion revamp

Legal & General will be getting rid of the connecting roof between the two pavilions and adding an art installation to the southern concrete wall to liven up the space.

Plans to transform the pavilion were submitted in February. Manchester Council issued its approval of the plans on Wednesday.

Acclaimed Japanese architect Tadao Ando designed the current pavilion. That structure “does not contribute positively to local townscape, suffers from poor natural surveillance and accessibility and permeability are constrained”, according to a planning statement from Savills.

To remedy these problems, L&G will introduce soffit lighting to the perimeter of the pavilion, and extend paving to connect the pathways around it.

The view of the two pavilions from Piccadilly Gardens. Credit: via planning documents

By removing the central roof section and effectively separating the two pavilions, L&G hopes to improve access to Piccadilly Gardens while also reducing anti-social behaviour by enhancing the visibility and lighting situation.

“The overall effect will be to create a more legible, safer and attractive route for pedestrians,” according to Savills.

Greater Manchester Police endorsed the plans.

The new design and artwork are the brainchild of local artists SpaceInvader Design, Lazerian and Artin.

The pavilion revamp is separate from Manchester City Council’s own competition to redesign Piccadilly Gardens itself. The shortlist for that competition was revealed in March, with the six chosen design teams set to reveal their concepts this autumn.

Want to learn more about the scheme? The application’s reference number with Manchester City Council is 132578/FO/2021.

Daytime view of the art installation. Credit: via planning documents

Your Comments

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Or just knock the whole wall down? Putting some shiny lights on it and removing a small section will not cut it

By Disgruntled Goat

Signature architect produces poorly thought through design solution – there’s a first eh.


Don’t see this as a solution to any problem, the issue lies with the actual gardens, the wall that blocks sight lines across, and just generally the area is run down. I don’t think a return to the old sunken idea would be any better, in modern times the issue of council neglecting maintenance and upkeep would just mean in heavy rain it would become a pond.

Just make the area a big park, mature trees, plenty of bins, well lit path through the middle. Doesn’t need to be overthought.


Just what don’t they get??? The whole thing needs knocking down and starting again with the bus station moving as well. Just make this a large public square with nothing cluttering the place, you know like most European Cities have and that works well. Maybe with some grass areas which are raised off the ground like the Peace Gardens in Sheffield. Piccadilly is an embarrassment to the City and is sadly one of the first things visitors see when they arrive by train.

By Bob

So basically putting some fairy lights up on that monstrosity of a wall then? Joke…

By Therealist

In Spain they have beautiful parks but they close at dusk and the gates are locked until dawn.

If human behaviour is the issue at PG then this might be a better solution than any physical redesign.

By Bentley Driver

Looks good and will help improve the overall space once the rest of the gardens are redesigned.
I do hope the new light installation is protected in some way. I can see this getting ripped off or vandalised within days if it isn’t.

By Steve

Stop getting Piccadilly Gardens wrong.

By Sceptic

Piccadilly gardens is one of the first things many people who are visiting Manchester first see as they arrive by bus/train or whatever. It is the central bit of Manchester and should be iconic and look amazing.

The lights on the wall are a good idea but not enough. The lights look nice but are a bit confusing. To me it looks like some building related to astrology.

The idea of the area being very lit up is good as it would prevent anti social behaviour but then again I think it should be more lit up everywhere around.

By Anonymous

Surely a living wall/s would look better?

By jrb

Was Tadao Ando consulted?

I understand the reasoning although it’s kind of like saying rembrandts’ night watch is too dark so we’ll paint a bright pink border on it.

By Alexander G

This wall just needs to go, Piccadilly gardens is becoming a symbol of failure

By Michael

Why not make the lights look like a circuit board seeing city tower has this ode to the computer, invented in Manchester

By Opinion

There is a word for that. Daft.

By James Yates

Art installation? Is that what thy’re calling this?

By Tony Heyes

Being long enough in the tooth to have enjoyed Piccadilly Gardens when it was actually a garden, it makes me sad to witness the many poor attempts to come up with a solution to the errors of the past 40 years.
Concrete and stone have always been seen as the answer and the result is a bland, pretty useless thoroughfare. We now dumb everything down instead of investing in what could, once again, be an area to be proud of. Look back over the photos of the beautiful sunken gardens, with all of the many benches full to capacity. Take your inspiration from that and be brave. Accept that there would need to be a continuous expense in maintenance and security but make the area a place to be proud of and a focal point for our city. Just imagine people arriving at Piccadilly having a beautiful garden as their first sight of the city, rather than the dross we have put up with for so long.
Of course, that idea won’t go down well with those who count the pennies but perhaps some of the cost could be defrayed by knocking a few names off the list for the annual Cannes MIPIM junket.

By Ian Jones


By Anonymous

Oh please…MCC are a disgrace – this simply isn’t good enough
What must tourists think of our city centre ? Shambolic that’s what !

By Rodders

Please hard surface gadens plenty of trees, flower beds and seating pavilion looks great

By Anonymous

It can’t be any worse than the embarrassment which is Lincoln Square. I walked through that the other day and it is yet another place, commandeered by skateboarding zombies. Is there anyone capable in this city of creating an open space, which is beautiful,clean, green,peaceful and not ruined by either drug pushers or grown men clanking around on a four-wheeled plank? For Godsake Manchester, get your act together with public realm, you get enough money in council tax. London has beautiful public squares on every corner.

By Elephant

For God’s Sake Remove the Walls.
& Restore Mancunian Pride.
No one will be happy until they are gone.

By Dean

Almost as bad as having “life, love, laugh” lit up on the walls… Just clear the lot and instate a proper park sans bus interchange

By Cheggers

Flatten the whole lot and start again, the fountain itself is a money pit! Lost count how many times the grass has been replaced only for the council to put something on top of it so it needs replacing yet again!

The whole place including the bus station is an eyesore and not somewhere you want to be on the brightest of days let alone at night!

By Mike

I pass this at least a couple of times a week. It’s a complete eyesore. I’m totally amazed that that it just isn’t knocked down. The whole area needs a complete rethink!

By Big John

Redesing the pavilion, knocking down the wall and revamping the gardens will fail unless the Police and the council get to grip with the illegal and anti social activities associated with the area.

By Monty

They should check out the wall outside Sheffield railway station and the gardens beside Sheffield Town Hall. Real quality town scape with water features that actually work.

By Steve

Wow it’s got X factor in design well done all designed it

By David barrow

Knock down the wall and plant some trees. This used to be a beautiful garden where people could sit and watch the world go by. Now it’s a place to be avoided and the redesign ideas won’t make it any better.

By Val

Talk about putting lipstick on a pig, come on surly there’s a better solution

By MancGuy22

What a crappy “solution” , typically third rate , par for the course in a city that doesn’t even boast a roofed bus station !

By Steven J

I wish they’d just knock it down already.
Sticking some lights to it won’t make it any less of an eyesore.

By Anthony

Just knock it down Go back how it use to be The gardens use to look stunning and functional Go green Make it the centre pice of Manchestet City Centre Learn from lockdown The public need wide open areas to chill out. Concrete is not the answer.

By L kelsall

People didn’t like the wall because, renowned architect or not, it was nothing more than a plain concrete wall. God knows Manchester is grey enough!
And what the heck is “natural surveillance”?

By Bernard Fender

Knock the wall down, please

By Alan

O Piccadilly gardens when you think how beautiful it used to be and that concrete is awful.

By Mary

All comments are very interesting but whatever is planned, it needs to take into consideration the up keep of the area in terms of cleaning the area regularly- as it always looks dirty and I noted yesterday along with a strong smell or urine and yet there are eateries within the area, not appealing to anyone let alone visitors.

Hence pointless to spend further public monies if the up keep and hygiene of the place is not maintained.

By Carol

Can someone explain how the lights are going the change the ugly wall during the day when it’s iseen most ….a libing wall like the Deansgate tram stop would have been better or even a digital advert the income from which could fund extra security.

With regard to the grass, where it is behind stone step it is fine, it’s only where it is level with the walkways it gets worn, so just put the stone step throughout and problem will be solved.

By Boom

An improvement. Next up, the god awful Piccadilly Plaza building (i.e. Mercure hotel)!

By Tom

I suppose this is a small step in the right direction. However, Piccadilly Gardens must be one of the worst planning disasters in the City in recent decades (here are others). The ugly, concrete jungle design of what was once a welcoming part of the City is awful. It should all be swept away.

By Roy G Chapman

Never mind that MCC are putting the old adage ‘you can polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter’ to the test, the important question is HAS ANYONE THOUGHT OF THE PIGEONS?

By Przychodnia

Talk of papering over the cracks. What a load of garbage.

By Philip Sharp

🙄 unimpressed…
Unless I’m mistaken, I don’t recall hearing if people were even given a choice to keep or remove the wall.

By MrP

So the same really. But with lights.

By Cj

Put a living wall on it like they put up in stock port on a lot office blocks and walls

By D g roberts

Turn back into the beautiful gardens it once was.

By Stephen Roberts

I actually think the Mercure hotel could be a brutalist masterpiece if they did something special with it

By Anonymous

I don’t understand why it is so difficult,pull down the eye sore,make the area green and well lit,enough water features,I mean how much more water do we want to see in Manchester, put some benches and decent bins and let people sit in peace in the centre,with proper maintaining and security,DONE.could even get the community to attend the gardens as a weekly thing,seeing as the unemployment is high,his a job,there you go.

By Mrs vinent

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