My main project originated from a workshop held by the Valuing Older People team at Manchester's Town Hall. A comment was made about the inaccessibility of Piccadilly Gardens and how the old, sunken gardens were more desirable. To discover if this opinion was held by many I undertook a series of events to record people's comments and understand how and why they were affected by the space. Firstly I created a postcard asking people what they liked and what they would change in Piccadilly Gardens, this was relatively successful but people needed a lot of prompting. Secondly I showed people a series of images and asked them which they liked and disliked. This was more successful and the comments made were more useful. Thirdly I wanted to establish the public's view of Piccadilly Gardens after dark. I asked a series of people where they felt safe in Piccadilly Gardens these results were then plotted on a site plan to highlight safe zones and problem areas. By engaging with the people that will be affected by the project it helped to create a concept that was not distant from the real problem and helped to form a more established brief.

Natallie
Harris

5th Year
Aged 24
My Review of the Year

Focussing on a comment made by an individual at a Valuing Older People workshop at Manchester's Town hall this project looks at the problems that Piccadilly Gardens currently faces and questions why people are unable to connect with the space. Through analysing the changes seen in Piccadilly Gardens throughout history and understanding how people are affected by the space the aim of the project was to overcome the negative perceptions people have and look to develop a new type of garden that was able live up to its intended use as a central meeting point in a large, contemporary city. Through analysing both the Picturesque and the Renaissance garden the final design is a hybrid that lies between a park and a square. It clashes with the current Tadao Ando design to create a main event space that will allow the space to come to life from the programmes it has. It also has a series of character areas. These character areas take precedent from the renaissance garden and give a sense of green to the space which was highlighted as one of the main problems by the public. The final design is a new type of public space that moves away from a sterile public square or from a neatly manicured garden. It has a sense of wildness from the picturesque and a sense of order from the renaissance to form a space that Manchester can be proud of.

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Valuing Older People Workshop