Group 23

The aim of this event is to design a new digital and creative space for vulnerable young people in Greater Manchester. The ambition of this project is to create an inclusive environment that will facilitate the learning of digital skills by rehabilitating an unused space and designing a digital inclusion room and 1-1 therapy room. In this day and age, literacy skills are vital and the creation of an accessible space that encourages vulnerable people to come in and learn relevant digital capabilities will improve their confidence and increase their prospects of getting employed.

Laura L / Helda Iulia L


Lifeshare was established in 1984 by a group of volunteers who recognised the lack of support for the city’s increasing number of rough sleepers. The charity has pioneered the development of new initiatives such as rent deposit schemes, sexual health and drug awareness that are now widely spread.

Their recent focus is on tackling the problem of the lack of digital inclusion and digital literacy amongst vulnerable young people in Greater Manchester. The project provides dedicated and targeted support that will enable vulnerable and marginalized young people aged 16-25 in Manchester.

The Digital Inclusion project is ran by Jamie who is a Computer science masters student at our university.
Posted 10 Mar 2020 12:32

We are a creative team of five 5th year MArch students at Manchester School of Architecture. Our atelier is CPU&AI, so we are all about digital software and have a range of relevant digital skills.

Laura Lapadat
Undergrad: Kingston University, London
Year out: Sheppard Robson, London
Big on sustainability and Jaffa cakes

Cristi Dubina
Undergrad: University of Lincoln
Year out: JMAD Architecture, Lincoln
Will calm you down if you feel stressed

Iulia Lup
Undergrad: Manchester University
Year out: Ollier Smurthwaite and Day Architectural, Manchester
I love creating things and traveling

Michael Williams
Undergrad: University of Liverpool
Year out: Sheppard Robson, London
Call me Mike

Andreas Maragakis
Undergrad: Manchester University
Year out: AECOM, Manchester
Manchester raised with a strong desire to travel the world. Probably on my 5th coffee
Posted 11 Mar 2020 15:42

Jamie is the Digital Inclusion officer at Lifeshare and he is currently doing his Masters in Computer Science at Manchester University. He is a lively and enthusiastic collaborator and he is currently looking to develop a training course in partnership with service users to deliver digital skills that enable vulnerable people in Manchester to access information, resources and services.
Posted 11 Mar 2020 16:19

Our project was born from Lifeshare’s need of a space which can facilitate the delivery of a number of digital courses. Currently, their offices do not have enough space to host this new programme, so they are looking to refurbish the floors above their office into a digital den. Lifeshare has given us a budget and a set of constraints for this project as they are planning to start works on this space in the near future!
Posted 11 Mar 2020 16:29

Our brief consists of reimagining part of Lifeshare’s offices in Northern Quarter. The third floor of their offices is currently used as storage. This will be transformed into a digital den which will include a computer training room, a one-to-one therapy room and a small kitchen.

We will produce a set of drawings as well as a 3D model for the refurbishment. Our aim is to design an inclusive and welcoming space, which encourages wellbeing and interaction between users.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 21:22

Lifeshare’s is based in Northern Quarter, Manchester. They are in close proximity to Great Ancoats Street which is a key part of the Manchester and Salford Inner Relief Route around the city centre, making the site highly accessible with several transport options.

Their offices are based in a three storey industrial townhouse and has recently undergone refurbishment done by Laing O’Rourke.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 21:23

Digital Inclusion is the process whereby technologies such as the internet is made accessible to individuals by helping them learn the right skills to take advantage of the tools they need for social and economic integration.

A lack of digital access and skills can impact a person’s life in a negative way such as: social isolation, less access to jobs and education or poorer health. This also means vulnerable people are less visible in the modern world as most services tend to move online.

11.3 million people in the UK do not have access or the basic digital skills needed by today’s employer’s or universities, widening the social inequality gap.

Delivering digital capabilities through the provision of facilities such as: public access computers, free wi-fi spots or training courses will greatly improve the quality of life and well being of those as risk of being marginalized.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 21:25

A report done by GoodThings Foundation collated information for a better understanding of the mechanisms behind Digital Inclusion. Their report summarizes both strengths of the Future Digital Inclusion model as well as areas of improvement. The charts show the learner population broken down into four main demographic factors which can become predictors of motivation, barriers and support needs.

Source: 2020. Future Digital Inclusion: Delivering Basic Digital Skills For Those In Need | Good Things Foundation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 March 2020].
Posted 23 Mar 2020 11:17

There are a number of benefits that come by creating a safe and inclusive space where vulnerable people can gather to learn digital skills.

QUALITY OF LIFE: Improved access to health and wellbeing information and services

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Through online transactions, households will be more likely to receive offers and save up and will also have access to a larger market of goods and services

SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT: We live in a digital age, and lack of digital skills can encourage isolation and depression. Digital inclusion builds an opportunity for community engagement and participation

EDUCATION: Vulnerable people will be more likely to have access and benefit of education

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT: There will be more opportunities to engage within the civic and democratic community

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: With an indispensable set of digital skills now required by most employers, vulnerable people will have increased access to a range of different jobs
Posted 23 Mar 2020 11:21

The space that will undergo refurbishment sits on the third floor of an old industrial townhouse in Northern Quarter. This space is currently used as storage and will be transformed into a welcoming and flexible space which will contain facilities such as computers, therapy room and small kitchen.

One constraint is the existing façade and internal openings which have to stay in place and cannot be altered. The rooms and place of the partitions will have to be planned accordingly.

Another challenge is the size of the room, which is only 32sqm. In order to accommodate the programme, we will look into modular furniture which can be adjusted depending on how the space will be used, i.e. digital training or presentations.

Our aim is to brighten up the space and make it welcoming for both the users and the staff. It will be an accessible space which will hopefully unlock new potential for the young vulnerable people of Manchester.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 16:51

Given the nature and size of the space, we think the use of modular furniture will add significant value to the project.

The use of modular furniture will allow for the space to adapt to the different needs of the users and staff. This will allow for the programme to extend beyond a digital training room and will enhance the productivity of the users.

As modular furniture comes in parts, it will also be easier to transport it and lift it up to the third floor of Lifeshare’s offices.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 17:20

We will start our week by conducting a detailed survey of Lifeshare’s offices which will include: floor plans, ceiling plans, internal elevation plans as well as photography and sketches of the interior space. We will establish a set of opportunities and constraints together with Jamie (our collaborator), which will further help define our brief. We will be using these set of constraints and opportunities to test our team’s level of creativity and imagination during the design phase, which will include sketching and collaging innovative proposals for the digital inclusion room and one to one therapy room.

Once initial ideas are drafted, they will be translated in a digital form through the use of AutoCAD and 3D modelling software such as Revit and SketchUp. The aim of using these programmes is to produce highly detailed drawings of the proposal.

An insightful analysis of the existing site conditions, opportunities and constraints will be produced with the help of the Adobe Creative Suite such as: Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop. Content production and graphic skills will be developed through the use of these programmes and will further help with collating a beautiful portfolio for the final exhibition.

Through this project there is an opportunity to learn about design processes, spatial arrangements, graphic design as well as develop new software skills. Additionally, communication, organisational and planning skills will also be needed in order to successfully complete the project.

The set of skills learned through this event are fundamental and will be indispensable throughout any design projects that might follow!
Posted 23 Mar 2020 17:22

1. We want to design a flexible space that boosts interaction between users.

2. We will make use of the Adobe Creative Suite and 3D modelling software to create a set of compelling drawings that will be used in the final portfolio and the exhibition.

3. Throughout our meetings with Lifeshare, they have mentioned that this project has a budget and it is something that will eventually get built. With this in mind, we want to create a feasible design which will be in line their budget.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 17:30

Marcus Rashford supports the local community and launches “In the box Christmas Campaign” in support of Lifeshare. The ‘In-the-Box’ was created by Manchester United and England International footballer Marcus Rashford to support some of Manchester’s homeless charities – Barnabus, Centrepoint, and Lifeshare. Lifeshare Trustee, Robin Toal, said “We’re thrilled that Marcus Rashford has chosen to support @LifeshareUK, @centrepointuk & @BarnabusMcr with his exciting “In-the-box” campaign. His support will make a real difference to people experiencing poverty and homelessness this Christmas”.

As well-known people are involved in this charity it is an honour for us as well to be part of this project and support the local community.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 17:53

During the first week we will familiarise all of the group members with Lifeshare and the site. We will split into three different groups in order to have three different design options across the team.

We will focus on getting to know Lifeshare and their aspirations for the project, survey the room which will be refurbished and visit innovative co-working spaces around Manchester. These spaces will all be documented by photographs and we will encourage conversations about flexibility, adaptability, material use and colour schemes.

We will also be introducing 1st and 2nd years to the 5th year projects on adaptive re-use, which will help them better understand how to intervene within an existing space. Once they have conducted their research, each group will collate the relevant information and identify initial design concepts and ideas to take further on. Before the start of the actual design, we will have tutorials on relevant software which will help with the production of a drawing pack as well as content production for the portfolio.

Throughout this week we will be preparing and collating all the necessary information which will support the key design moves chosen by each group.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 19:13

The focus of this week will be on design. We will be having a number of design charettes and mini crits through which we will provide insightful feedback on the proposed designs. Our collaborator will be present as well in order to make sure that the proposals are in line with their requirements.

Throughout this week each group will aim to produce the following:
Diagrams explaining concept
Furniture and feature ideas
Floor plan
One section
Axonometric drawing
3D Model
One rendered key image

The three different groups will collate all of these into a portfolio which will then be presented at Lifeshare’s offices. After all presentations have been completed, the collaborators will give their overall feedback and then decide which design they would like to take forward and implement into the space. We will then celebrate the hard work together with the collaborator!
Posted 23 Mar 2020 19:52

We are proposing to do a brainstorming session where everyone can get involved and share their ideas regarding the redevelopment of the office. During the design charrette, we will form groups where students will have to come up with a large number of creative designs in a short period of time.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 20:32

Manchester is growing rapidly with many businesses moving up in the North. Therefore, there are many co-working spaces that we could visit in order to take inspiration for our project. The co-working spaces that could inspire our design are “WeWork”, “Use. Space”, “The Sharp Project” and “Huckletree Ancoats”.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 20:42

The first precedent that we looked at is one of the most famous co-working spaces: We Work. They believe that thanks to technology, the traditional working model, in which everyone has an assigned desk, has been steadily eroding. Their workspace follows an activity-based working (ABW) environment which means that it allows their employees to choose from a variety of settings that will help them to be more productive.

The four defining elements of ABW are:
-Sensory experience
-Behavioural reinforcement
-Iterative learning
Posted 23 Mar 2020 20:43

At Use. Space, a local co-working space in Manchester, they believe that the best ideas come from the merging of minds. Therefore, they provide dynamic and stimulating co-working spaces for start-ups and mature businesses looking for a nook to evolve their niche in the North. They have different spaces available: from co-working and single office spaces to meeting rooms and event spaces. This precedent shows us the importance of designing spaces that are tailored to the current demands that the society has.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 20:46

Huckletree Ancoats is a space for original minds and ambitious teams to come together, grow and make a tangible positive impact on Manchester and the world. They offer multiple facilities for businesses to grow and develop like: Podcast Studio, Plant Café, Meeting Spaces, Wellbeing Rooms while offering the opportunity for new startups to network and maybe even find partners for their businesses. It is extremely important when designing a working space, to design it with people’s needs in mind. Creating a space in the heart of the community will rise the local area, bringing new businesses and entrepreneurs.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 20:49

The Sharp Project is home to over 60 digital entrepreneurs and production companies specialising in digital content production, digital media, TV and film production. It’s based in a 200,000 sq ft refurbished warehouse previously occupied by electronics company Sharp. It offers flexible office, production and event spaces.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 20:54

The three proposals presented to Lifeshare on the final day will be collated into a portfolio type publication and poster .
These will then go into the final exhibition.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 20:57

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 we had to unfortunately cancel this event! We want to thank our collaborators for the patience and for their cooperation in this event! We are sure this would have turned into an incredible project which would have had a real social impact on young vulnerable people in Manchester.

Through this project we have learned a great deal about digital inclusion, social value and homelessness in Greater Manchester. Our focus would have been on designing a flexible space which could potentially be arranged by users as they wish. This flexibility would not only allow for a change in space use but also boost collaboration and the creativity of the users.
Collaboration and communication with both the collaborator and the future users of the space would have helped better understand what their needs are and develop design proposals accordingly.

We were hoping to design a space which will unlock the potential in all of those vulnerable young people who lack the means to either get a degree or a job. As sad as we are to not go further with this live project, our hope is that the digital den will indeed be built in the near future!
Posted 23 Mar 2020 20:58