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The Urban Greening // Day 7 Production Continued

On day 7 we have continued producing the drawings and visuals before Fridays presentation. We have chosen a mixture of hand drawn and computer skills, this gives us a chance to utilise skills that already exist in the group whilst teaching new software skills in Photoshop and Illustrator.
Posted 2 Apr 2019 16:40
The Urban Greening // Day 6 Production Week

On day 6 we started by discussing how we wanted to present our designs on Friday. Every group highlighted some key drawings which would work best for selling their scheme. All groups will have 4 design development diagrams and the site analysis which best informed their design, on top of this:
Group 1 are focusing on a system for the main facades of Alberton House, on their board they will include an intent diagram followed by a technical axonometric and section of planter module they aim to use and elevations of the facades in question and a concluding visual showing the overall effect from the front entrance,
Group 2 will produce a landscape plan and a 'killer image' visual for the main outside circulation space;
Group 3 will include a contextual site plan and new proposal for the ground floor. Finally a key visual and elevation layout of a new proposed green wall on the southernmost facade.
Posted 2 Apr 2019 10:41
The Urban Greening // Session Plan Week 2

Here is the plan for the second week of events, concluding with a presentation to Bruntwood. This is our production week, giving the students opportunity to develop and finalise their designs to presentation level by Friday!

Looking forward to a productive week ahead!
Posted 2 Apr 2019 10:22
The Urban Greening // Day 1 Site Visit

The second half of day one was spent on a site visit to Alberton House. Robert from Bruntwood gave us a tour and told us about the opportunities of the project. We then undertook some initial site analysis including measuring aspects of the site, observing circulation routes and taking photos. From this we highlighted the main south gable wall as an initial location for a green wall and started understanding the main routes people take into and out of the building. These observations will start to inform our initial designs.
Posted 26 Mar 2019 12:35
The Urban Greening // Session Plan Week 1

Here is the plan for the first week of events, including some exciting collaborative meetings. This is our design week, giving the students opportunity to have a hands on approach at biophilic design, expanding their skill base on a number of design software.

Looking forward to a productive week ahead!
Posted 22 Mar 2019 09:48
The Urban Greening // User Presentation

We have invited the building users of Alberton House and Blackfriars to the conclusion to our event. A public exhibition and consultation, giving the students an opportunity to get feedback on their proposals and network with live clients. The event will take place in the ground floor co-working lounge of Bruntwood's Blackfriars building, which will also be the location of our afternoon presentation to the collaborators.
Posted 18 Mar 2019 17:50
The Urban Greening // Green Space in Manchester

The map above shows the green spaces currently in and around Manchester, as you can see they are few and far between. As our project aims to create a process for returning flora to Manchester we need to understand where these spaces currently exist and where they are failing. This knowledge will help us with our system of biophilic design starting at Alberton House.
The closest area to Alberton House marked on this map is Personage Gardens - a small park located in a conservation area by the same name which states 'the square of Parsonage Gardens itself is surrounded by a rich mixture of buildings of various ages and styles which are relatively harmonious in their relationships with one another. Where redevelopment proposals are put forward the City Council would be seeking designs which reinforce the harmony rather than reduce it.'
The Manchester City Council website also claims that 'the square in Parsonage Gardens is one of the greenest spaces in the city centre, which gives it a special charm and character. The density of buildings within the area restricts the possibility of additional planting, but some trees have been planted around the paving improvements at the junction of Bridge Street and St Mary's Parsonage.'
The conclusion that the density of the buildings restricts planting is focused directly at trees; this has inspired us to investigate other forms of greening as can be seen in our precedent studies.
Posted 25 Feb 2019 12:25
The Urban Greening // The Fabric of Manchester

The Fabric of Manchester is a sculpture by Clare Bigger which sits outside the front of Alberton House. Clare Bigger works with stainless steel to create light, airy sculptures, which are all about movement. Stainless steel means they are weather resistant which is perfect for an exterior piece like this.
The sculpture was commissioned in 2005 by Bruntwood - our collaborators on this event - and conveys the concept that Bruntwood is part of the fabric of Manchester, weaving links with society and the environment. This idea vocalises something of what we aim to achieve with our scheme - a design which spreads through Manchester creating more green spaces and tying the existing together. With this in mind we will have to decide how to treat this existing artwork as part of our project and whether we would like to integrate more sculptures such as this one into our proposal.
Posted 24 Feb 2019 20:15
The Urban Greening // The Histroy of Alberton House

The Site we will be using for this Urban Greening Project is Alberton House, a building offering around 100,000 sq. ft. of office space, overlooking the River Irwell. It was designed and built in 1973 by Leach, Rhodes and Walker Architects; a firm which is still practicing today from its head office in Manchester.
Alberton House stands beside St. Mary's Parsonage with its back to the River. Parts of the building were built on the site of the Albert Street Police Station, which was built on the site of the Albert Street Gas Works. The Albert Street Gas works operated from 1817 and you can find a plaque honouring the 'first municipal gas installation in the world to sell gas to the public' on the southern most facade of Alberton house. You can see this and historic maps of the site above. In addition to this history, more recently in 1992 all the windows of the building were broken and significant damage was inflicted on Alberton House by an IRA bomb, planted in the flower beds outside the neighbouring Cardinal House. It is said that when the windows were replaced a bomb-proof film was applied to them.
We are excited to see how we can respect and integrate our new knowledge of the rich site history to create a rounded and cultural urban greening scheme.
Posted 24 Feb 2019 13:32
The Urban Greening // The Collaborators

Meet our collaborators - Bruntwood and Inleaf!

Bruntwood are a leading property company, that are keen to diversely research and collaborate with a range of organisations to re-image the urban landscape in the city. We will be working together to implement the concept of urban greening within their buildings, specifically Alberton House, with the aim of connecting spaces that engage with the everyday users of the business focused city centre.
Learn more about them at

InLeaf are a Manchester based company that specialise in living walls and biophilic design. They will be coming in to teach us about the benefits of office plants and living walls in the workplace and how best to implement these interventions.
Learn more about them at
Posted 13 Feb 2019 10:43