Camlins and AEW have won the design competitions to improve two prominent public spaces on Manchester's Oxford Road corridor.
The public-private partnership Corridor Manchester devised the competition to tackle difficult but important gateway sites at the underpass to the Mancunian Way and between Contact Theatre and Whitworth Park.
Seven professional teams were selected to take part, and each team worked with students from Manchester Metropolitan University and the Manchester School of Architecture.
The designs from each team were exhibited at Bruntwood's Manchester Technology Centre, Oxford Road and responses were collected from those who visited.
The jury finally selected AEW's proposal for the Mancunian Way site because of its 'vision for how the site could be developed to transcend the current limitations that constrain its appearance and value to the public.'
At the Whitworth site, Camlins' 'sophisticated conceptual response' beat the 'impressive and detailed proposals' from Landscape Projects.
The winning teams were:
- Mancunian Way : AEW Architects. Students: Agustin Estefanell Maeso and Tughan Toz
- Whitworth Gateway: Camlins. Students: Neha Garg, Arminder Heera and Vinca Olechnowicz-Simpson
David George of AEW said: "The focus of the design was to address peoples' perception The Mancunian Way, which slices over Oxford Road, creating a barrier. By redesigning the space below the Mancunian Way we propose to create a place of interest that acts as a destination. Transforming the existing barrier condition into a dynamic nodal point of facilities aim to complement the surrounding activities that are key to the Manchester Corridor' creating a high level of activity day and night. We have considered the wider city contexts beyond the boundaries of the Mancunian Way to provide greater connectivity which we believe is essential to the success of the scheme.
Robert Camlin said: "With map in hand, to explore Oxford Road from Whitworth Park to the Museum of Manchester is to see it for the first time, not as a corridor but a series of interconnected rooms, some internal with roofs, some external beneath the sky and the stars. Rooms for scholarship and learning, rooms for experimentation or hypothesis; rooms for worship or to take food and drink; rooms for performance, play or relaxation; rooms for healing and motherhood. When placed within a painted map, a mosaic of places emerge, some of which already exist while others have yet to reveal themselves. As explorer/cartographers our task has been to pursue just such a revelation."
A funding package is not yet in place to deliver enhanced designs, however there will be significant linked work within the Oxford Road area thanks to the Cross City Bus Package.
This scheme has been funded by the Department for Transport and Transport for Greater Manchester, with the aim of driving growth through improved bus corridors. The Corridor Partnership took the opportunity to develop the competition in order that potential scope of public realm improvements could be highlighted. Decisions on any public realm scheme to be implemented will rest with Transport for Greater Manchester and the various landowners, who will be reflecting on the designs from this competition and other sources, with potential funding being a significant factor to be considered.
The professional practices involved were; AEW Architects, Denton Corker Marshall, Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios, Formroom Architects, Camlins, Camlin Lonsdale Landscape Architects and Landscape Projects
The Institute of Place Management will be rewarding students from the winning teams with cash prizes.
The Design Competition was managed by Working pArts, the Corridor Partnership and staff from MMU and Manchester School of Architecture.