The 2.6-hectare park represents the first phase of the £1.5 billion Mayfield masterplan, which aims to create a mixed-use neighborhood in the city centre, on former industrial land next to Piccadilly train station.
The area now includes 120 mature and semi-mature trees, 120,000 plants and shrubs, a public garden, riverside walkways and the largest play area in the city.
In the heart of the park isResurrectionThe River Medlock – one of Manchester’s three main rivers – opened after more than 50 years under a concrete cover.
It is hoped that Mayfield Park will help the city achieve its goal of becoming net zero by 2038. Materials were recycled and reused during construction to save more than 240 tons of carbon dioxide2.
Victorian wells discovered during construction will be used as an irrigation source, saving one ton of carbon per year and up to three million liters of water.
Mayfield Park was created by the Mayfield Public Private Partnership, which includes developer U+I, Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and LCR, the government’s placement industry expert.
In 2020, the government pledged an investment of £23 million from the Getting Building Fund into Mayfield Park – one of the largest investments of any single project.
Future development stages are scheduled to begin soon. This will provide 1,500 homes, 150,000 square meters of commercial space, 28,000 square meters of retail and leisure facilities and 6 hectares of new public domain.
Phase 1b, and includes buildings designed by Studio Egret West, Morris + Co and Bennetts Associates, Submitted for planning summer 2019.
Mayfield’s industrial heritage has had a significant impact on park design. We were inspired by the site as we found it, particularly its mixture of deteriorating post-industrial and colonial farming, which we interpreted through the retention of existing structures and through our physical choices, details, and approach to designing agriculture.
We determined that the park’s design would amplify the state of “nature meets industry” and provide a green space with strong Manconian foundations and authenticity.
The spatial concept of the garden is a “series of spaces”, not just a single empty green space, but a series of interlocking themed areas organized by the meandering river naturally creating a separation between the zones as it flows through the greenery.
All solids are from British sources and refer to the current location. The concrete uses locally sourced aggregates, including shades of red/pink that indicate the warmth of the various nearby red brick factories and station buildings. Staffordshire blue brick makes reference to the striking brick of the neighboring warehouse building and is sourced from Staffordshire. The design also reused a number of pig iron back beams that had previously been part of the downstream. These recycled beams are used on three different pedestrian bridges. Rip-rap and featured rocks were sourced from a nearby quarry at Glossop and provide a powerful edge to the river on faster turns.
Uncovering the river is a defining step of this nature-first and landscape-driven proposal. Rivers provide important habitat and corridors for wildlife, so covering the river mostly will always limit a site’s ability to become an important wildlife habitat. We opened the river, increased the light on it, created smooth river edges and planted it, and formed a “wild area” that accommodated the flood waters when the river overflowed its banks. This connected ecological corridor helps increase the site’s biodiversity and hopefully encourage more change along the city’s urban waterways.
While investigating the site, a number of wells were found throughout the site, and the park thus benefits from its own sustainable water source. The drainage approach also recognizes water wastage, rain gardens and flood mitigation that collects water which helps reduce water discharge into the system.
A series of tall playable steel structures anchor the playing field at the east end of the park and refer to the former industrial brick chimneys. The Playground offers play for all ages and abilities and has been designed with a local game maker. Play equipment and structures intentionally mix with adjacent tree canopies and planting beds, and a single slide crosses the river to connect visitors through nature play.
Duncan Paybody, Associate Director, Studio Egret West
After more than six years of planning, designing and building, and working with our partners from the public sector and the local community, we are delighted to finally welcome the people of Manchester to their new park.
Mayfield has always been a hardworking part of this great city. In the Victorian era it was a city within a city, further cementing Manchester’s role in the Industrial Revolution. As we look to the future, it seems entirely fitting that Mayfield has laid out a new blueprint for creating beautiful, progressive, and sustainable neighborhoods.
Oftentimes, green spaces are an afterthought in development. We wanted the city to feel an instant connection to this place, so we started with a garden. With a new neighborhood growing around the park, the stunning views and quiet spaces will be a major reason people choose to live and work here.
Martyn Evans, Creative Director, U+I
Site Mayfield, Manchester
Project Type Large-scale downtown renovation
Get started on the site December 2020
Completion date September 2022
Total space (interior + exterior) 6.5 acres
Contract form or purchase method NEC Contract (NEC4 ECC Option E and Option A)
construction cost 23 million pounds sterling
Construction cost per m2 £874
client Mayfield Partnership (U+I, Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester, LCR)
Architect Egret West studio
master plan for development Egret West studio
Executive Landscape Architect Egret West studio
Civil/Structural Engineer Civil Engineers, Borough Happold
river engineer Borough Happold
Planning Consultant Deloitte
Project manager Faithful and gould
Quantity Surveyor Faithful and gould
Landscape delivery engineer Gilesspace, Layer Studio
chief designer Project 4 Safety
landscaping contractor Ashlia Landskis
stadium design Massey + Harris
main contractor BB O’Connor
next stage (1b)
Administrative Building (Bolton) Architect Bennetts Associates
Office building (Republic) architect Morris +
Parking Engineer Egret West studio