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Castlefield Riverside Masterplan

Outline

A research project in the first year of the BArch course began as a reflective project, building from the successes of the HB:BX Highbridge Competition as an urban regeneration scheme, and looking at ways in which concepts may be transferred to the Manchester context.

The cycle masterplan was devised to take advantage of the vast areas of abandoned railways stretching from Castlefied to cross the river into Salford. The newly proposed cycle routes combined with an expanded cycle-share network would facilitate the free, unobstructed movement of commuters, shoppers and tourists between Salford and Manchester City Centre, and promote the uptake of cycling as a primary means of transport in and out of the city.

At the heart of the masterplan, a new manufacturing and commercial hub would maximise the underutilised riverfront areas of Castlefield and Ordsall, currently occupied by swathes of wasteful car parking space. A new combined production facility on the London-born bicycle manufacturer, Brompton Bicycle, and the chain manufacturer, Renold Plc. would bring together two connected industries to produce and maintain the cycles in the city’s new bike-share scheme, creating jobs in an area on life support since the deindustrialisation of the Salford Docklands in the 1970s and 1980s.

Connected to the Museum of Science and Industry, the new network will link existing points of interest for visitors to promote greater tourism in the city.

Date

March 11, 2010

Context

In an urban location of similar characteristics to that of the New York Highbridge community, the site chosen for the design of an Industrial Masterplan straddles the River Irwell, on the border between the Manchester city centre, and Ordsall, a community once the heart of the Industrial Revolution in Manchester.

The loss of industry in the area since the 1950s has had a dire effect upon the community of Ordsall where the under-qualified and usually low-skilled ex-workers of the Salford Docks and surround were, and still are unable to find similar employment to earn a living. The growing absence of opportunities and money in the community since the mid 20th century began to show through, in the cracks in the brickwork, and the boarded-up windows of the once densely-populated community. With no visible turning point in sight, the long-tern residents could only stand by and watch as the community was first abandoned, vandalised, and later demolished.

Very little stands in the place of the old red-brick terraces, and Ordsall, once a bustling scene for the working-class of the North-West, now lies as a vast expanse of car parks and large-scale retail parks, dedicated to serving the needs of the wider-population.

Gallery

Design Response

The loss of manufacturing jobs in the area has had a devastating effect on the community. The height of large-scale UK manufacturing has passed, but a closer look at the industry reveals a bustling scene of small-scale maufacturers.

My proposal is to provide a hub of industrial activity on the Irwell Riverfront site, bringing together two inter-connected UK maufacturing firms, where the the workforce awaits. The two companies, Renold PLC. and Brompton Bicycle Ltd. will share the site, supported by a wide network of efficient transport links, through which to serve commuter, and goods access.

Concepts

Detailed below are the key concepts behind the design of the masterplan on the Irwell Riverfront site, and their impacts, socially, environmentally, and economically, in a local and wider context. The concepts can be summarised to four key areas, which are as follows:

Public Transport

As a means to open up the site as a transport interchange for Ordsall, the masterplan will enable to resident and working populations of the area efficient access from the city centre and beyond, discouraging the use of cars as commuter transport.

Cradle-to-Cradle Manufacture

As a model for sustainability in the manufacturing industry, the notion of Cradle-to-Cradle will ensure a clean and self-sustaining future for production on the planet, where the resources are returned to the earth at the same rate as they are consumed. Products sourced locally reduce transport costs, and allow the manufacturer to reclaim and reuse products for recycling/upcycling.

Ordsall Regeneration

As an area which used to thrive upon the manufacturing industry, which brought bountiful employment opportunities during the UK’s most industrious times, the area will now be developed into a new manufacturing centre, where the skills of the local community can be utilised, tackling unemployment and attracting new residents to the neighbourhood.

Energy Generation

As the next step to becoming a fully sustainable city, the manufacturing heart of Ordsall will look towards generating its own clean power to minimise reliance upon the area, as it has increasingly done since the start of the Industrial Revolution. The development will aim to not only generate power for itself, but provide additional power for local consumption, and combining heat and power across the masterplan to fully utilise local production.

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