Shortlist revealed for Piccadilly Gardens competition

Fira Landscape, LDA Design, Ove Arup and Partners, Planit-IE, Studio Egret West, and West 8 have made the cut, with the ultimate winner set to be chosen in 2023.

Now that they have made the shortlist, the design teams have to develop a detailed concept design for the the10-acre space. The site includes not just Piccadilly Gardens itself, but also Mosley Street, Parker Street, part of Portland Street and part of Piccadilly.

According to the council: “The design brief envisages that Piccadilly will be a special place with a strong sense of identity, welcoming and uniquely Mancunian and allowing for the flexible hosting of events: a place for all, incorporating space where children can play, and one that is fully accessible.”

The council also stressed that the design must promote safety, be well-lit and have clear sightlines.

The designs must also retain the existing monuments, statues, tramlines, infrastructure and the Pavilion structure.

Concept designs are due this autumn.  The council has already estimated that the construction cost for the project will be £25m.

“The area centred around Piccadilly Gardens has the potential to be an outstanding public space where people actively want to spend time, not just hurry through,” said Manchester City Council Leader Bev Craig.

“It can be a more welcoming gateway to the city, as well as a flexible and family-friendly events space.

“We know it isn’t fulfilling that role at the moment and are looking to bring forward design proposals which will herald significant improvements,” she continued. “The shortlisting of these six design teams brings us another step closer to realising that ambition.”

The competition is not the only new thing coming to Piccadilly Gardens. Legal & General submitted an application in February to improve the pavilion on the site.

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This is laughable, worst council in the country.

By Dan

You could spend a fortune on this space, employ the best design team in the UK but until the Police sort out the drug dealing, anti social behaviour and casual violence which plague this area it will fail.

By Anonymous

This brief seems familiar. Oh seems very similar to the last time this space had a world class makeover funded by the building to South. Maybe they can cut the space down further by adding another building and “funding”. With any luck we will have nothing left of the space by 2050.

By Andrew

They have to make Piccadilly look amazing and really make it a state of the art place where people talk about. It should look glamorous and have some sort of wow factor to it since it is Manchester’s central point

By Anonymous

Incorporate the old town hall colonnade!

By Byronic

Some worrying quotes from Bev Craig.

If the council persist in believing Piccadilly Gardens can and should be all things to all people, it will fail. Again.

I hope the designers have the strength and conviction to challenge their client’s brief where they believe it necessary to do so.

By Gardens watch

Why 2023? Autumn for designs? Why wait so long!? Get it done! Stop messing about and sort it out!


@IMHO – design takes time – if the council are going to spend our money improving it (a good idea in my view) they might as well have the time to get it right. Design changes later on cost everyone more.

By New Mancunian

The brief for the gardens is simple. Return it to a park with flowers and trees. It isn’t an event space or a children’s playground, it is a small city centre park. What part of that, do MCC not understand? It doesn’t need pretentious street furniture by the latest designer known for exciting sculptures made from metal, it needs benches where people can sit, a small kiosk which sells snacks, an ice cream cart, a water feature and rockeries. The problem with MCC is they are hopeless at less is more.

By Elephant

Its a transport interchange with 3 modes of transport all intersecting. To sort out the drug dealing in PG you need to sort out the drug dealing at the end of every line on the metro link, bus service and train service or at the least separate all the modes out creating a transport system that doesn’t work very well. Fact is that places reflect their people and there a lot of bad people in the world who seem PG as the a perfect market for business. Very very very big challenge and not as easy as ‘sort it out’.

By Anonymous

Until the Southservatives reverse the huge cuts to police budgets that resulted in the loss of 22000 officers patrolling the streets of this country, piccadilly gardens will unfortunately be the same home to dealers, users, muggers and thugs it has been for the last 10 years. No matter what it looks like.

By Bernard Fender

Spend a fraction of the money they are spending on the Town hall and Albert square and you’ll have a massive improvement.

By Cal

The designs must also retain the existing “monuments, statues, tramlines, infrastructure and the Pavilion structure.” – what design firm would want to associate themselves with this. If they had full reign to remove the pavillion, move statues…etc then we might have something goof.

By Anonymous

There’s a solution to the office block that was built on part of the former gardens. Strip it to its frame and reclad this. I can imagine Tim Groom doing something special here.


This is a blueprint for failure. The design brief has too many competing objectives which will result in a hotchpotch outcome, pleasing no one. Keep it simple, either a small inner city park with grass, trees and plants or a paved square. Most importantly, include future maintenance costs.
Jim, Stalybridge

By Anonymous

The commercialisation of public realms is the problem. Anything covered in adverts, peddlers, coffee cups etc is a dump no matter what art is used to distract from the ugliness of capitalism. It either needs to a commercial space or a public realm. People need a mental and physical break from being bombarded with logos and adverts. enough empty spaces on market street, in the arndale etc move them out of the gardens and make it at least semi-natural again. We’ve enough areas covered in LED lights, granite paths, stainless steal and bloody logos.


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