Seated at the heart of a major traffic corridor, Piccadilly Gardens transforms Manchester’s central park from a problem area into an effective public space.
Roughly the size of a football pitch, Piccadilly Gardens is one of few green public spaces in Manchester city centre. The challenge was to create a new, safe public space with links to adjacent areas.
Construction work required careful transportation planning by Arup to ensure minimum disruption to the city centre. Surrounding roads were re-modelled to reduce traffic on the north side of the gardens and to create a bus island on the south side with simplified access for buses.
The gardens needed to provide not just an effective pedestrian thoroughfare to transport links, but also a place for people to think, meet friends and relax, just as they would in any city park. To help to achieve this, the park was levelled and a large water feature inserted as its centrepiece.
With mechanics and electrics designed by Arup, the fountain plaza, one of the largest in the world, features 180 jets, lit in multi-colour with fibre optic lighting. A pedestrian catwalk bridges the feature, allowing easy access to the railway station. Its 24/7 dramatic lighting promotes safe passage.