Group 26

Working in collaboration with The Friends of Beech Road Park on a live project to design a space for the volunteer gardeners who help to plant and maintain the park in Chorlton. The Friends of the park actively help to manage the park and regularly host events and activities for the local community. This design will be a part of their wider plans to update and improve the space for people to visit and enjoy. This event will include designing a sustainable and useable tool shed for the volunteer gardeners with the aim to also benefit the rest of the community. We will be working towards a brief set by a real client and providing a detailed design for them to build from. At the end of Events we are going to hold an exhibition to showcase our work and final design.

Jemima O / Harry W / Rachael Louise AJ / Henry George B / Abigail M / Jessica Amelia W

Meet the team

We are Harry, Henry, Abbie, Jemima, Jess and Rachael - group 26.

- Atelier: &rchitecture
- Undergraduate degree: UWE
- Harry will bring the enthusiasm to the group. He will help advance your photoshop and communication skills, as well as offering a lovely hand drawing.

- Atelier: CPU
- Undergraduate degree: Sheffield
- Henry is a pro at Revit, he can whip up quick model options and can get on board with a technical drawing

- Atelier: CPU
- Undergraduate degree: Sheffield Hallam
- Can’t imagine the Shed in the park? No worries, with Abbie on board she’ll create a render to take imagination to reality. See this live project come to life on a page. Always happy to help!

- Atelier: &rchitecture
- Undergraduate degree: UWE
- A Shed? Not on Jemima’s watch, Jemima will encourage you to step out your box - Jemima is looking for the most out of you.

- Atelier: &rchitecture
- Undergraduate degree: Sheffield Hallam
- Jess loves a chat, if you need help with anything, she’s here to hash it out. She also loves a wacom drawing, so need a visual get in touch.

- Atelier: &rchitecture
- Undergraduate degree: UCA Canterbury
- #1 organiser, Rachael will push you to your limits to get the best out this live project. Need to word an email, she’s your girl!

Stay tuned for more project information!
Posted 10 Mar 2020 16:11
Meet the collaborator

Friends of Beech Road Park is a local resident-led focus group dedicated to the conservation of Beech Road park; a charming, public open space in Chorlton. The group is passionate about their park, arranging activities and holding frequent meetings that provide a platform for communication with Manchester City Council and the local community. The group’s activities range from gardening and recreation to small-scale festivals and fundraising. Some of the recent initiatives have been outdoor table tennis tables, Christmas parties, “Art in the Park” art classes, landscaping and spray painting. The collaborators are made up of gardeners, community organisers and dog-walkers alike, they are a welcoming group that cannot wait to see what innovative proposals we come up with!

Friends of Beech Road Park have a strong social media presence on Facebook so feel free to follow their page and get involved!

Friends of Beech Road Park is a voluntary organization registered with Manchester City Council.

Find them on Facebook:

Posted 10 Mar 2020 21:51
The Site

FACT: On Valentine’s Day in 1968 Beech Road Park acquired their first Beech Trees.
Beech Road Park is a dog friendly, pocket park in the heart of Chorlton. The park is surrounded by family homes and provides a refuge from the busy on goings in everyday life.
Beech Road Park has a children’s play area and is one of the few dog friendly parks in Chorlton which makes it a lively and friendly place to be.
Many events take place here, such as gardening group, table tennis, art in the park, and general meetings. A ‘Tool Shed’ for this park would make these events easier to run, with storage and refuge from an often-rainy Manchester...
We encourage everyone to make their way to the site, to enjoy the peace within the city and meet the friends of Beech road. Please do hesitate when taking pictures, why not record your visit through a sketch.
Posted 12 Mar 2020 10:01

The initial meeting with out collaborator Laura was centred around formalising a brief for the project and understanding the desired outcome.

5 of the key decisions were:

1. Committee involvement throughout.
As the committee have the knowledge of how the park is currently used and ideas on how this could be improved, their involvement within the 2 weeks of Events will be a a great tool for the project!

2. Multiple Designs
To ensure we are able to provide the committee with as many options as possible, and to allow for the most creativity out of those involved the outcome will involve a small number of design as a reference for the committee to later consult when choosing what toolshed to build in the future.

3. A ‘How to’ guide
We agreed that creating a ‘how to’ guide for a small number of designs will be most helpful for the committee as they look to build a toolshed in the future. It will also allow the creative ideas and innovative uses of sustainable materials to be collected into a concise document for future reference.

4. Sustainable Materials
As a community build, an emphasis will be placed on the environment and low tech solutions. The use of sustainable materials in innovative ways should be used for the project.

5. Local Exhibition
At the end of the two weeks, an exhibition will be held near the park for the local residents, gardeners and the students to discuss the final document showing the designs - and a way to celebrate everyones collaboration in producing it!

Conversations with the collaborator about the brief have been useful to ensure the outcomes will be the most beneficial for everyone involved. We look forward to further developing the project and have more involvement with the committee.

Posted 16 Mar 2020 12:05
Group trip to Hulme Community Garden Centre:

On Day 3 of Events we are heading down to Hulme Community Garden Centre (HCGC), where we will be shown the different gardening areas of the site, and the two recently-completed, micro-architecture live projects by the university of Sheffield.

The garden centre acts as a focal point for the community of Hulme, where local residents and gardeners come together to learn about the vast collection of plants, food production, horticulture and the environment. The centre promotes independent living, health and well-being, and sustainability to its customers and local schools, all while operating as a not-for-profit organization.

The centre is organised by a motivated and friendly group of people that regularly hold activities for the local people of Hulme to come together. It’s set to be a stimulating, thought-provoking day-trip to kickstart the design process.

If you would like to find out more about his amazing space, visit their website:
Posted 17 Mar 2020 12:21
Current social outreach

The Beech Road Park committee is made up of local residents, and gardeners all of which share a common aim to improve and maintain the pocket park for the use of the community.

The current uses for the community that the park and its committee provide are:

Recreation, Leisure & Play - A children play area is located in one half of the park which in fenced off from the rest of the park which is popular for dog walkers.

Events & Activities - These include dog training activities, Christmas lanterns parade and light switch on, and the park development strategy public consultation. There are year round activities hosted in the park for all age groups.

The park is also used by other groups in the community such as Scouts who ran a Chorlton litter pick event

Annual Children's Festival with Unity Arts - A painted wall can be seen at the perimeter of the park which was created during the festival. Unity Arts continues to host events at Beech Road Park in the summer, including spray painting, circus and mono printing.

Monthly Gardening Group - The committee includes some gardeners, and a lead gardener Jo, who attends the meetings but also run a monthly gardening group which is open to anyone to join.

Arts in the Park - The outcomes of this are the parks contribution to the Chorlton Arts Festival. The outcome of this project will also be included in the festival along with the continued work of Arts in the Parl.

Friends of the Park meetings - A committee who regularly meet to voice the needs of local people and liaison with Manchester City Council to improve the park. The project will be discussed in the next committee meeting and the feedback incorporated into the design.

Future Projects
The committee are working on some additions to the park to increase the activities held there, this includes the addition of a permanent outdoor table tennis table. This is a collaboration between Table Tennis England, Manchester Active, Richard (Neighbourhood Park Officer) and MCC Ward Neighbourhood Investment. The lead gardener is feeding ideas into the events project, and when complete will enrich the area surrounding the new shed with new planting.

The community play an important part in all events run within the park, this is why an important aspect of this project will be working closely with the committee members throughout the design process to ensure the final outcome best meets the needs of those using it.

Posted 21 Mar 2020 17:17
What is social value and why is it important?

Social Value has been formally recognised within the world of Architecture since 2012 when the ‘Public Services (Social Value) Act was passed. This act was put into place to primarily help voluntary and social sectors, but since it has had a larger affect on the architectural sector as a whole. It introduces a new dimensions to ‘value’ that is not financially orientated.

This concepts asks the clients to think about their investment in a wider scope that just the completion of the project, but also how investing their money could better the lives of a much bigger group of people. With this in mind, the social value of this project is both centred around the primary users (the gardeners), the extended users (the committee and local residents) and the wider community (Residents of Chorlton). The aims for this tool shed is not a stand alone piece of architecture, but something that can contribute to the wider social network when the park is hosting events throughout the year. These events are aimed at user groups of all ages to promote social inclusion and often hold an education value such as ‘Arts in the Park’ for children and the gardening events. The tool shed will contribute and enhance the park’s ability to host these events and enrich the social connections between those who use them.

This introduction of social value has expanded the role of the architect, and places a new importance of the reach a project can have - not just the immediate users but the local community aswell. This has seen the participation of end users within the design process, to ensure the needs and requirements are met within the brief. This is especially true in community lead projects when the community is involved in the build process too. The outcome of this event is a ‘how to build’ document for the committee and volunteers to later use a reference for when they build the shed in the park. The build process will include a variety of people who will learn and share skills, and promote a sense of ownership over the toolshed as it is the result of collaboration within the community.

Morris, N. (2018) ‘Unlocking the social value of design’ RIBA Architecture. [online] Available: [Accessed 09.03.2020]
Posted 21 Mar 2020 22:07
What is a Shed?

A simple definition of a shed is ‘a simple roofed structure used for garden storage, to shelter animals, or as a workshop’, but does this mean that a shed should just be 4 walls and a roof? Or could a ‘shed’ be reimagined? 
When we see the word ‘Shed’ most of us will form a pre conception of what this should look like, but what if this image was changed to something more architecturally exploratory? Just because a shed is usually for storage, doesn’t mean it has to look uninspiring and dull. 

How can we reimagine a shed? 
There are many different ways in which a shed could be reimagined, but firstly the fundamental uses it must cater for must be understood. For our shed in beech road park these include: running water, tool storage, shelter from the elements, working space and links to the outside. This shed will form an integral part of an existing community and it will be located in a very visible location within the Beech Road Park Area, therefore it is important that it serves its valuable intended use but also it that it makes a statement within the park, something for the local people to be proud of. 

Let your minds come away from what we see a traditional pitched roof garden shed and move more towards seeing this intervention as a piece of architecture that will sit at the heart of a strong and engaged community. The challenge is how this is done in the context and with limited budget, but there are low tech solutions out there and this should not stifle creativity. 
Through taking inspiration from small architecture, such as containers, pavilions, installations and even micro homes to understand how they deal with small spaces and storage solutions as well as architecturally appealing.  

Something to think about: How would you reinvent the shed to make it a useful and pleasing space to spend time in?  

Posted 21 Mar 2020 22:08
Hulme Garden Centre Pavilions

During the group trip to the HCGC, we will be taking a look at two impressive examples of micro-architecture, produced by students at the University of Sheffield.

1. The Volunteer Hub bridges the space in between two storage containers, one being used simply for storage, the other as a “mess” area for the volunteers to use. The aim was to provide an informal shelter within this space, that can be used for timber and wheelbarrow storage. The shelter uses entirely recycled, natural materials that were reclaimed from the site wherever possible. The hub features a structurally efficient timber truss that stays true to various existing structures on site, while promoting an organic aesthetic.

2. The Shade House is a fully enclosed, curved, timber structure creating an internal space for displaying plants and aquatics. It’s location is a focal point for the site on the street edge drawing many people into the garden centre. The gabions are filled with waste and natural materials, encouraging biodiversity and providing a habitat for much of the local wildlife. The structure was built using reclaimed materials with a permeable bamboo cladding.

If you would like to find out more about these projects, visit the SSoA’s Live Project website at:
Posted 22 Mar 2020 01:49
Collaborator inspiration

As part of our project, we want to deliver an outcome which is both exciting for the students to create, but also fulfils the requirements and aspirations of the Friends of Beech Road community.

During meetings, our contact Laura along with the Friends of Beech Road community created a wish list. The wish list included elements to the design, which we should consider in our outcome.

The wish list included: Storage for tools, ability to access the shed (protection from Manchester’s elements), a bug hotel, Security (this shed could be considered to have valuables inside so it was important that it could not be broken into), rain water collection (this would store water which could be used to water the park) and storing tools secretly (this could be within a bench, or in a cupboard. This makes the shed more secure if its left unlocked during gardening times and creates storage space), running water (For ease, and a cuppa tea)

As the project develops, we are going to begin to include as many of the aspects above, combined with the student’s responses to the design brief to get the most out of a shed at Beech Road Park.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 08:29
Brief Revisited

After further meeting with our collaborator we discussed how we could enrich our brief to make it more of a viable outcome that could be built in the future. The developments included:

1. Costing
Completing a costing exercise along side the design, to allow for the committee to compare design options through financial feasibility in the future.

2. Social Impact
As the brief is centred around social impact, and the park is used by a wide variety of people the aim of our project is to appeal to and provide uses for everyone involved.

3. Portfolio skills
To ensure the end publications is of a high quality and to learn transferable skills for future portfolios.

4. Site Visit
Visiting Hulme Community Garden to gain some knowledge about plants, garden structures and wildlife habitats that can be integrated into the design.

5. Precedent
A visit to the library will be conducted to gain inspiration for the final document. This will include looking at examples of professional publications to gain knowledge of graphic styles, effective compositions and eye catching designs for the exhibition.

Posted 22 Mar 2020 08:30
No Photos, No Problem

Exploring alternative methods to record the site.There are many ways to observe and record a site. Beech Road park is a family friendly place for local people to go and enjoy, therefore photographs are not welcomed due to the sites proximity to a children play area. As part of an initial site analysis, we often assume that there will be some sort of photography that captures the essence and character of a place. 
So what other forms of analysis can you do to still obtain this information? 
Sketching is a great tool that allows you to capture a lot of information in a relatively short space of time. As well as recording the intended view, drawings also have the ability to tell a lot more about a place. Drawings can be extremely powerful as the process allows you to understand the space in a lot more detail than taking a photograph. 
Sketching also encourages a sense of freedom and it can be a quick process that can produce valuable information to tell the story of the place, without a photograph in site. 
Although harder to achieve whilst on site, modelling can also be a credible process to understand how a site works. It enables an overall 3D picture of a space which can help to figure out scale and proportions when designing proposals. Speed modelling can be used to quickly explore form while a presentation model can showman intricate details of a building.
Creating a storyboard of the trip to site could also be an effective way of recording information. Through recording the journey of the site through this method, a sequence of the trip can be realised, with a clear understanding and timeline of events. A storyboard can be a useful way of separating a space/journey into lots of small frames/views which can build up a picture of what is important. 
Situationist mapping / Psychogeography
Mapping the site visit through how you felt and experienced it from a personal point of view. Using a base map, this technique allows personal reflections and to encourage playfulness through notes, collage and drawings to understand the place and the journey. It is an inventive strategy to explore the site and could be an interesting response and alternative approach to taking photos. 
Verb and Adjective Analysis: 
An alternative method of analysis could be using words to describe what is being experienced. Through the use of verbs and adjectives, such as playing, words can enable an understanding of the activity that is happening on the site or in a place as well as any particular features that may be important. E.g. strong brown tones. This information could be extremely valuable for understanding how a space is used. 

These methods can be used individually or a combination of them can be used to build up an in-depth picture of the site. They can also be analytical tools and be post rationalised to identify key opportunities or constraints of the site and identify key themes. During our site we will encourage everyone to use these methods to capture their version of the site.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 08:38
Parti on site

Communication of ideas and information will be a key aspect during the events, to exchange ideas between the design team but also representing ideas to the collaborator and committee. One method we will be exploring throughout will be that of Parti Diagrams, and these will be used to represent information gathered on site, analysis of precedents and to communicate design decisions.

Parti diagrams can be used to show elements such as:

- Form and geometry
- Solid and Void
- Light and Shade
- Axis vs centre
- Territories vs enclosures
- Thresholds
- Routes

The purpose of a parti diagram, in contrast to other types of diagrams, is their simplicity and how concisely they portray information. One of the tasks when we are onsite will be for each person to summaries the site in a small number of diagrams and later present their ideas back to a small group. This builds up the skills of hand drawing but also to break down thoughts into smaller elements for easy and effective communication. Learning how to do effective parti diagrams will be a transferrable skill that the students can use in future portfolios.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 08:43
Week one

Week one will focus on initial stages of design. We will spend time on the site, where students will have the opportunity to interact with the site, sketch and ask questions. From here we will begin with initial concept design. At this point we will introduce Precedents with ambitions to inspire students at the first stages of design. Throughout we will discuss our outcomes between one and another, and later show our work through a ‘pin up’ exercise. Using feedback from earlier activities, we will push forward with design process with goals of finalising design responses. We will them spend an afternoon away from university, as Hulme Garden Centre, this is a great opportunity to understand structure, and materiality of successful garden builds. To end the week, our goal is to prepare a set of plans and sections, as part of an informal Crit for the following week.

The key aspects and opportunities of week one, are to understand/develop the initial stages of concept design, teamwork, gain presentation skills, visit new places with ambitions to inspire creativity, learn new skills, gain confidence.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 10:04
Week Two

Week two will begin by hosting a Crit with Laura, a member of the Friends of Beech Road Community. This will be an opportunity for students to practice presentation skills and gain invaluable feedback to the design process. We will continue by fine tuning design, to match the feedback. As we move into the week, we will be joined by a guest, Jack Badger, who will introduce construction drawings and joinery details. We will use this time, to progress our design outcomes in terms of how it will be constructed. We will then begin to think about how our final outcome may look. We will head to the Library to find magazines and journals which may influence the design/layout of our final booklet. This will lead us to finalise our graphic style, followed by printing for our exhibition. On our final day, we will travel to site, where we will set up our exhibition, and present our aspirations for the Tool Shed to the local community.

The key aspects and opportunities for week two, is to gain confidence speaking in front of people, presentation skills, teamwork, construction design, Professional relations, learn new skills e.g. photoshop.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 10:04
Double Diamond Process

When developing our session plan we researched design strategies to get the most out of the two weeks of events, and to ensure our preparation set us up to get the most out of the student input. The double diamond design process is one adapted by many different professions and is used to ensure a wide scope of opportunities are explored, whilst still delivering the desired outcome on time.

This can be summarised into 2 diamonds, each with 2 stages. The beginning stage is the expansive and explorative stage, and the second is the synthesising and refining stage. The first diamond is the work we will complete before the 2 weeks of events starts, and the second diamond is the work carried out during the two weeks of events with the first and second year students.

Our preparation work benefited from having this structure as we primarily focused on exploring all options, communicating with the committee to gain ideas, exploring potential guest speakers and site visits.
We then transitioned into defining a clearer brief, setting up templates for the outcomes and completing the relevant documents such as the risk assessment.

Understanding this double diamond process was especially helpful when developing our session plan and helped us understand what tasks may be included in each week, and also ensured all the work we completed was refined down to the outcome. This ensured we included tasks which gathered ideas, explored design options and research were mainly done on the first week. Whilst the second week's focus was purely on condensing the work into the document, developing presentation skills and coordinating the exhibition.

We found having this structure useful in the preparation as it kept our efforts focused onto what we were aiming to achieve. This will also be helpful during events as we will include this explanation in our introduction presentation so that all students involved share a common goal of the desired outcome.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 12:29
Digital Skills

Throughout Events there are 4 key programmes we anticipate using for the project. We have organised tutorials, hosted by ourselves or a guest speaker, to provide the skills required for our project. Alongside these workshops we anticipate that all students (including ourselves) will have different levels of experience using these softwares and the project will provide an opportunity to learn from one another.

InDesign: InDesign is crucial for setting up and formatting documents and portfolios and is therefore an extremely useful programme for architecture students to learn. During Events we will be using InDesign to create the final output, a ‘how to build’ booklet for the final designs, and also documenting our design process. We have arranged for Tony from the MMU Digital Media Bar to provide a quick introduction and tutorial to the software. More information on this to follow.

Photoshop: Another programme that is a staple to architecture students is Photoshop as it is really useful for creating a variety of visuals including diagrams, collages and renders.

SketchUp: A 3D modelling software that is useful for creating and adapting models, it can also be used in conjunction with physical modelling to test ideas.

AutoCAD: We will be using AutoCAD during this project to draw construction details on how the Tool Shed can be put together for the Friends of Beech Road Park.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 20:32
Design Communication Skills

In addition to the development of digital skills we will also be focusing on developing our design communication skills in a variety of ways.

Through working in a range of different group sizes we aim to improve team working skills and allow everyone to contribute their ideas and thoughts. Some people may feel more comfortable voicing their ideas in pairs or smaller groups at first.

By using model making as a tool of design exploration we can test ideas in 3D whilst communicating key concepts to each other.

In presenting our proposals to the collaborator at the start of the second week we aim to improve presentation skills. This allows us the opportunity to discuss with the other students a range of presentation skills from how to best show ideas to tips on describing the proposals in order to get the collaborator interested and excited.

Following the presentation from Jack Badger we will develop our proposals to produce construction details that will communicate the materiality and construction of important junctions.

Our final output for the project will be exhibiting our work close to the site. All students will be involved in helping to curate and present the work for this, utilising the skills on design communication learnt earlier in the process.
Not only are these design communication skills valuable to the Events project but they are also skills transferable to future projects and even working in practice.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 20:37
Presentation Preparation

Throughout the past few weeks we have been busy making the event as varied, interesting and enjoyable. We have had various meetings as a team to discuss how this could be achieved During these group sessions we have been taking minutes and drafting agendas for official collaborator meetings to try and create the best possible event that will be both engaging for the team and valuable for Friends of Beech Road Community Group. The purpose of forming minutes and an agenda were to maintain effective communication with Laura and to keep track of the action points for all involved in the project.

It is extremely important that we satisfy the requirements for the collaborator so that the outcome can be used to benefit the community. Through our meetings, we have been discussing how to give back to the community and to offer a chance for Friends of Beech Road to give their input on what they would like in the park. A number of things discussed were;
- How to involve guest speakers to enhance the learning experience for all of us?
- What educational trips could we go on to expand our knowledge of small architecture?
- What documents are outstanding for the project?
- What blog posts are we going to produce and of what visual style will they be?
- How are we going to involve the committee throughout the project?
- What are the final outcomes for the project?

Through a meeting with the collaborator (Laura), it was decided that we would give the committee a chance to be involved in the project and give their opinions through a presentation of ideas, which will take place at the beginning of the second week. This session will be like a review and will be presented to Laura for feedback and the invite is being extended to any current Friends of Beech Road committee members.

The idea behind having a presentation at the mid-way point is to get comments that can be worked through into the design during the second week. This will enable changes to be made or areas to be developed further for the final booklet of information that will be exhibited in Chorlton.

All of this preparation is to try and create the most social impact possible for the project!
Posted 22 Mar 2020 20:46
Crit with the Committee

Throughout our event for Friends of Beech Road Park, we intend to involve the community as much as possible, giving the locals a role in the development of the shed proposed for Beech road park. We want to hold a constructive, informal crit with the committee, allowing the community to be involved in the entire process, giving a sense of ownership back to the locals; maximising the social value of the project.

As a group, we decided to organise a session for the Friends of Beech Road Park committee to critique the design ideas and interventions being thought of during the first week of events. The session is scheduled to take place at the beginning of week 2, and the idea is to get some feedback on initial ideas, ready for developing them further during the second week. Any changes that are required can be filtered back into the production of the final booklet that will go on display for the exhibition.

The main committee members will be present; the Chair, the Treasurer and the Secretary, as well as the head gardener Jo and our collaborator Laura. Two members from Manchester City Council will also be attending; the Neighbourhood Engagement Officer and the Local Councillor, to provide our platform for communication with the council.

Hopefully, by involving the committee as much as we can, we can ensure that the proposal is as optimised as possible - for the people that care the most.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 11:37
How we met the Social Value Brief

Since our project’s inception, we have strived to maximise the positive social impact the intervention on Beech Road park will have to the local people living in Chorlton. Our aim was to consider the wider scope, how this project can have a positive effect on the gardeners, the committee and the extended community of Chorlton. We have met the social value brief in a number of ways:

- Communication; during the preparation phase for our event we have been in constant communication with our main collaborator, Laura, to ensure that our ideas and intentions fully correlate with the Friends of Beech Road Park Community committee.

- Formulating a brief in conjunction with our collaborator; we devised a brief that reflect the ideas and aspirations of our collaborators, the tool shed brief is a culmination of the needs and wants of the local gardening community of Chorlton, and is specifically designed to promote a sense of ownership for local residents. The brief encourages skill sharing and team work that should result in a strong collaboration with the community.

- Investigating local organisations; our group will be making a visit to Hulme community garden centre (HCGC), to educate one and other on the practice of gardening and it’s importance in the wider community.

- Committee involvement; by engaging the committee into the design development process, we are directly increasing the social value of the project, as the form and function of the shed is tailored towards the people who will use it the most. The head gardener, Jo, will be present at committee crits.

- Hosting an exhibition; the final output for the ‘Ready Sheddy Go’ project is an exhibition of works at the Lead Station in Chorlton, promoting social interaction between local residents, extending an open invite to the wider public, integrating the various communities of gardeners, families and students; creating a hive of social cultivation.

- Boosting younger generation’s skillsets; the project invests in younger people, enhancing their skills with a varied mix of activities and inter-personnel tasks such as presenting and teamworking.

- A community attractor; our proposal for a garden shed is focused on bringing the local community of Chorlton together, enriching the social connections between the people of Chorlton and getting them involved with gardening, advertising a new hobby that promotes wellbeing and vitality.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 14:38
Storage solutions in Small Spaces

How do you fit a lot of tools/equipment into a small space without clutter and creating mess? What other architectures can we look at to help create an efficient use of space.

Micro Architecture

‘Sustainability, cost-efficiency and space are just some of the factors driving an international renaissance in pocket-sized architecture that’s big on expression and style.’ (Lutyens, 2015). Micro Architecture is a concept that is becoming more popular. With today’s increasing land prices and reduced space in cities, there is a much greater drive towards space saving to make the most out of the building. Architecture at this scale crosses over into product design, to create solutions for the smallest of spaces.

Many small/micro architectures also sit within quite extreme climates, such as the desert, which enables a further level of complexity and exploration to be undertaken. Designers not only have to think about how to create intricate, clever spaces internally but also how to deal with weather by providing clever solutions (such as water harvesting).

Small Architecture can come in many different shapes and sizes. These all play a very different role within the built environment. Examples include;
- Pavilions: These tend to be temporary structures and provide a specific use
- Shipping Containers: Becoming more widely used today to create a range of different spaces, from housing to restaurants and shops.
- Bespoke homes: Usually quite exploratory in terms of form, small homes are becoming ever more popular.

This concept of small spaces and space saving ideas can be applied to this Gardeners Tool Shed. The shed will need to accommodate a range of different tools and be able to flex to be used for different activities. It would therefore be useful to explore different ways in which space can be saved. The intention is to create such solutions through the ingenious ways of storing items to allow free and uncluttered space for the gardeners to use. Examples of this could be under floor storage units to allow large tools such as rakes and spades.

If you are interested in small spaces and small Architecture, please take a look at ‘Small Architecture by Philip Jodidio, 2014.

Also Check out the link below for some interesting SHEDspiration!

Posted 23 Mar 2020 14:44
Library visit

Activity: Visit
Location: All Saints Library
Date: Monday 4th May
Time: 12.10pm

In the second week our events, we will be visiting All Saints Library to browse their journal collection. This is the opportunity to find inspiration, develop your graphic style and make your mark on the final presentation! With the final document being a fold out piece, there is plenty of opportunity for everyone’s development models and drawings to be included – this means it will be a well-rounded document that everyone can feel proud of. The outcomes of this task will to be able to collate a set of precedents that have successful layouts and pick a collection to work with. The precedents will be pinned up and a process of voting will decide what layouts used in the booklet. By working with a small set of 2-4 precedents for the layouts within the final piece, there is graphic consistency whilst still allowing people to express their graphic style.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 18:35
Precedent using Parti Diagrams

Parti diagrams are a useful tool in communicating ideas and illustrating analytic responses. This is especially useful when looking at precedent studies, and during the design process we will utilise this tool to collect a wide range of precedent studies to inform our design.

Precedent studies can be used to understand aspects of projects that have already been built, and can be used to test ideas against. The thinking towards precedent studies should be analytical, questioning why and how things have been done so lessons can be learnt and applied to the design project. Some ways of doing this include: overlaying drawings (plan or section) onto the current site, understand the orientation and scale of the build on a site plan, details of the construction to understand the use of materials.

Parti diagrams are a useful tool in summarising elements of a precedent into smaller aspects that can more easily be applied to the design project. These parti diagrams can show aspects on a detailed or strategic level, and often an amalgamation of parti diagrams from different precedent studies can be the beginnings of a design.

To demonstrate how parti diagrams can be used to analyse precedents, a short presentation will be given by the 5th years. The precedent used will be the allotment den designed by Matt+Fiona in Hull. This is a den designed with a group of children from a local primary school, and is situated in the corner of an allotment. The diagrams for this have been used to portray the scale, location in its surroundings, connections to the context and the dynamic form in a solid and void style diagram. These are all transferable ideas that could be used for other precedents and inform the design of the toolshed.

Mull, O. (2017) Dezeen. [online] [Accessed 12.03.2020]
Posted 23 Mar 2020 18:51
Guest Speaker: John Lee

Activity: Parkkeepers Hut Presentation
Location: Chatham Building (Room TBC)
Date: Wednesday 29th April
Time: 11.15am

John Lee is a lecturer and Architect, who owns Manchester Practice, Acra. In 2011, he was commissioned to design a Park Keeper’s Hut in New Islington. The use for the hut was to enable people to shower/wash, somewhere sheltered and for a canal service station. The hut was designed with its context in mind therefore what could have been a shed of 4 walls and a pitched roof, became a much more exciting piece of architecture. The structure also uses timber cladding to fit in with its context and tree trunks are used internally to give the space a rustic and low tech feel.

John will be joining us to talk about the design process that he went through in designing this hut and to give some ideas and inspiration on small spaces and how to make the most out of them.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 18:53
Jack badger

Activity: Talk
Location: Benzie
Date: Tuesday 5th May
Time: 10am

Jack badger is a company specialising in carpentry and masonry who specialise in doors, oak panelling, timber flooring, carving and other miscellaneous carpentry. We have planned to have a talk from Ben Naylor, a senior member of staff at Jack badger, who is already a contact for the university and has given previous talks. The shed we design will be made from sustainably sourced timber and as we are providing a ‘how to’ booklet, it is crucial that we have an understanding of timber construction. The outcomes of this talk will be to develop an understanding of construction details and have some input from Ben regarding which joinery details work best for the shape and size of shed we are designing. This talk will be beneficial for 2nd, 3rd and 5th years alike and we are very excited to learn from Ben.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 18:59
Low tech sustainable design

We have identified four key areas of exploration to implement sustainable design into the shed.

Bug hotel:
- The existing site is thriving with nature and people in the local area use the park as a small retreat from urbanisation. The committee have expressed their wishes to maintain and enhance the habitat of local bugs by providing a bug hotel as part of the shed. Low tech solutions involve filling bottles with twigs, grass and moss to create mini habitats for bugs.
Rainwater harvesting:
- Rainwater collection is an easy and practical solution to ensuring that plants in the park can be watered all year round. The rainwater will be collected in water butts which the gardeners can then use to fill up watering cans or connect a hose to if a pressurised water collection system is installed.
Sustainably sourced materials:
- It is important that the shed has the lowest carbon footprint possible. We have specified that timber must be the primary material for the shed, so this means using sustainably sourced wood which is grown locally and using a supplier who plants trees to renew those cut down. We have chosen to use Tree station as their wood is almost entirely sourced from Greater Manchester, from local tree work operations that they do.
Green roof:
- Using a green roof on the shed has many benefits. The soil and plantation provide greater heat retention in the winter and slows the rate of heat gain in the summer. A green roof also provides a new ecological habitat, reducing the impact of the building on the constructions footprint and creating a long-term habitat for local plants and small animals.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 19:10
InDesign Tutorial

Activity: In Design Skills Workshop
Location: Geoffrey Manton Building (Room TBC)
Date: Tuesday 28th April
Time: 11am

The output for this event is to provide collection of professional booklets to present design options for Friends of Beech Road Park Community Group. A member of the digital bar team at MMU has kindly agreed to run a workshop on InDesign skills, with particular focus on creating Master pages, paragraph styles and setting out layouts. The workshop will be vital in offering skills that can be used for future projects.

InDesign is an essential programme for anyone who has an interest in, or works in the design industry and is used extensively for various different things. It is commonly used for feasibility studies in practice and students use it extensively for portfolio layouts and presentation documents. The programme is useful as it allows the creation of styles, page layouts and templates that can provide a clear flow to a document. Photo alignment is also a key feature of InDesign to create sleek presentations. The outcome of the project is set to be a professional document that will clearly present the options to the collaborator. We therefore feel that this is a key programme to use for the required output.

For 1st and 2nd year architecture students who will be joining us for this, it would be great if you could prepare for this session by making sure you download InDesign on to your laptops as you will need it for the duration for the project.

Posted 23 Mar 2020 19:22
Publication template

The final output of this event will be a publication consisting of four A5 documents that unfold into an A1 sheet. We are aiming for the series of four documents to detail the following:

Document 1 - Site/design research:
- Outcomes of assessing what is needed in the shed by talking to the local committee and gardeners
- Outcomes of assessing the best location within the site for the shed in order to have a water supply and electricity
- Precedents and showing an understanding of how we can create more than just a shed

Document 2 - Design ideas:
- Outcomes of speed design process
- Potential layouts of the shed
- Models, sketches and collages created as part of the design process
- Feedback and development ideas from the crit

Document 3 - Design development/ construction:
- Final images
- Construction details
- Formal plans and sections of the shed design/s

Document 4 - Iterative process (Appendix):
- Culmination of images and sketches produced that were part of the design process but not appropriate to have in the main set of documents

The publication will give a clear timeline of the design process and enable the collaborators to build the shed from our ideas and details.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 19:31
Project Outcomes

The publications will be divided into the different design options. One will focus on our response to the site, providing detailed analysis of the park and surrounding area, through sketches, diagrams and personal observations. The other 3 publications will provide different design options for the gardener’s tool shed, options that can be used by the community, either as a base for a future design or as something to build from. Each of the designs will aim to offer a different approach to the shed and will each provide construction details and materials so that the drawings could be built from if desired. The purpose of having a range of proposals is to give the ownership back to the community. We do not want to impose a design onto them but rather provide inspiration that may not have been thought about. The publications will be separate documents but will come together to create an inspiring vision for the future Beech Road Park through this shed.

We are also planning to have an exhibition at a pub near the park on the final day of the event, which will be part of the Chorlton Arts Festival 2020. This is to allow local people the chance to observe and comment on the proposals and generate further ideas. The idea behind this is to give ownership back to the people of Beech Road Park. They are a committee that already undertake many tasks to make the area a welcoming and friendly place to be and this exhibition is designed to give them something that is a stepping stone to a future project. More information about the exhibition to follow.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 19:36

Our final goal for the Events projects is to hold an exhibition of our work within Chorlton for the Friends of Beech Road and local community to come view. Our collaborator, Laura, has arranged for the exhibition to take place on the final day of Events on the upper floor of The Lead Station, a pub situated down Beech Road, within close proximity to the site.

We will be exhibiting both our final ‘how to build’ booklet along with a curated collection of models and process drawings produced during the design development. Not only is this a great chance to show the community our proposals but it will be a rewarding conclusion to the project.

In addition to this, we are planning to maintain the exhibition to be included within the Chorlton Arts Festival, which will run from the 17th to the 24th May. This is a week long festival aimed at bringing together the residents of Chorlton with art venues, local artists and performers throughout the community.
For more information on the Chorlton Arts Festival please visit:
Posted 23 Mar 2020 19:39
Reflection and Thank you

Unfortunately, Ready Sheddy Go has had to be cancelled with the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, due to its involvement with the wider community and therefore potentially vulnerable groups people. Overall, this process has taken us away from a project that we would normally undertake and allowed us to rethink what the architect’s role is within a project. It is not just about design, it’s about the interconnection of people and skills to create the most beneficial outcome. This project has allowed us to explore design that we may not have during our time at university as most project require bigger buildings/interventions therefore some of the details are sometimes overlooked.

Through working with people from other disciplines, it has enabled us to consider alternative design techniques and built cross-disciplinary networks that could be used for years to come. It has taught us more about understanding the social value of projects and how it can create a big local impact to people who usually get overlooked. Although this has been cut short, we hope that this can be used as a platform for ideas and that there may be a future project that could see this tool shed be designed and built for this community.

Thank you to all those who have been involved, collaborators, guest speakers and site visit coordinators that have contributed in creating an event that would have provided the people of Beech Park Road with an exciting space to make use of.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 19:41