St Peter’s Square designs to go on show

An exhibition of the five short-listed designs for the improvements to St Peter's Square in Manchester will go on display to the public in mid-July.

The identities of the architects bidding for the coveted contract to redesign the square have been kept secret, not just from the public but also the judges overseeing the contest in order to prevent preconceptions influencing the decision.

The exhibition in the former visitor centre at the Town Hall Extension will begin with an evening reception for stakeholders on 14 July. The public will then be able to view the designs from 8am until 8pm on 15 and 16 July and from 10am to 3pm on Saturday 17 July.

The brief for the design competition is to enhance the open space through reduced traffic use – cars and buses are likely to be diverted in future – and create a better setting for the existing monuments and peace gardens.

The improvements to St Peter's Square are part of the £175m programme to bring the civic complex that includes Central Library and Town Hall up to modern standards.

Meanwhile, council staff have relocated to Ask's First Street off Whitworth Street West. A temporary visitor information centre has opened at Piccadilly Plaza and Central Library will relocate to Elliott House on Deansgate while work is carried out. Both sites are owned by Bruntwood. The council has signed leases for 3.5 or four years in all cases.

Separate contests were won last year by Ian Simpson Architects for the Town Hall Extension and Ryder Architects, the Central Library. BDP will carry out the mechanical and engineering design work at the Town Hall.

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The Visitor Information Centre in Piccadilly Plaza, on the Corner of Piccadilly Gardens and Portland Street is actually a permanent fixure and features several hi-tech interactive features for Visitors. Hopefully the higher footfall in this area will benefit the shiny new Centre, the opening of which, I was fortunate enough to attend.

By Andrea

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