Group 30

By producing engaging new designs for The Firs Botanical Gardens, owned by The University of Manchester, we hope to win funding to transform the neglected gardens into a new community hub in the heart of Fallowfield. The botanical revival will promote education and collaboration within a relaxing, green space.

Alex W / Celia B / Irena Renata D / Claire A / Sophie C / Hannah O


The MArch students will work in collaboration with the BA Year 01 and 02 undergraduates in mixed-year teams which will run like an architecture practice. The collaborator acts as the project client, the MSA staff are equivalent to governing bodies such as RIBA, the MArch students act as the associates and partners of the practice and the BA students act as junior colleagues.
Aims for students for Events 20:
• To improve students understanding of the practical aspects of live projects and the role of the architect within society.
• To learn valuable skills such as conceptualising a project, developing a brief and delivering and managing a small project.
• To develop an understanding and explore design ideas beyond the discipline of architecture.
• To meet new people and organisations and develop connections which will be beneficial when students enter the working world.
Posted 19 Mar 2020 12:22

Hi! We are group 30 – Botanical Blueprint!
The team is made up of six MArch.1 students at Manchester School of Architecture.

Hannah O’Neill - LULU
BA(Hons) University of Kent
Part 1 at jmarchitects

Celia Brearley – LULU
MA University of Edinburgh
Part 1 at Mass Architecture, York / The Harris Partnership, Wakefield

Sophie Chappel – LULU
BA University of Huddersfield
Part 1 at Den Architecture, Leeds

Alex Williams – LULU
BA Birmingham City University
Part 1 at Glenn Howells Architects, London

Irena Renata Dewi – LULU
BEng in Architecture Parahyangan Catholic University
Part I at AECOM Indonesia

Claire Ainsworth – LULU
BArch Liverpool John Moore’s University
Part I at AFL Architects, Birmingham
Posted 19 Mar 2020 12:23

Working closely with Professor Giles Johnson, a senior lecturer based in the Ecology and Evolution research group in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, we hope to produce plans to transform the Manchester of University’s Botanical Garden’s.

The University would like to open the Firs Botanical Gardens, primarily used by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, to the public to encourage community participation in education and research. Research in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences aims to provide a deep and integrated understanding of our planet, including the physical environment, the organisms living there and how human activities impact on both. The University of Manchester promote public engagement through sharing ideas and research; inspiring discussion, debating and creativity; and involving the public with their work.
Posted 19 Mar 2020 12:27

The Firs Botanical Garden is located in Fallowfield, 3 miles south of the main university campus.
Posted 19 Mar 2020 12:31

The Pioneer of this venture was Professor F E Weiss, who held the George Harrison Chair of Botany between 1892 and 1930. In the beginning, the ground owned by Sir Joseph Whitworth, an inventor of the Whitworth rifle and Whitworth thread. After he died, he bequeathed the site for the university to function as commercial fruit and vegetable nursery. However, during the First World War, the ground produced the Atropa belladonna plant for making the atropine ( a potential nerve-agent antidote) to help the community. The Firs decided to produce the plant because there was over-harvested in Croatia and Slovenia although the plants growing wild in there.

In the early 1920s, the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation asked for help to investigate a bacterial disease-causing problem on its crops in Sudan. Because everyone in Manchester and most of Lancashire put more effort and focus on this textile industry, the local trade was affected.

This place needs to be preserved because it became a ground base for several plant research from biochemistry and biotechnology, ecology, genetics, and biological control. Furthermore, the firs have so many fascinating rare botanical plant from around the world.


Image Reference:
Welcomecollection. Potrait of F.E.Weiss, professor of botany. [Online Image] [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Wikipedia. Atropa Belladonna. [Online Image] [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Posted 19 Mar 2020 12:48

The University of Manchester Botanical gardens in Fallowfield or known as The Firs is situated between the student halls and the Armitage centre. Currently being run by The Faculty of Life Sciences. It has so many fascinating rare botanical specimens from around the world which have been cultivated there for decades. The botanical experimental grounds moved to the current site in 1922 and have 0.6 ha. Today, the first is below the School of Biological Sciences and have a wide range of research projects for several areas of science.

You can see what they have been doing on this blog and Facebook page:
Posted 19 Mar 2020 12:50

The site is located on Whitworth Lane in Fallowfield, Manchester. With a variety of different of buildings located around the site from Student Accommodation, Hotels & Educational Facilities the site has great potential to bring an accessible green link to these facilities that would enhance the quality of the area creating an environmentally friendly, beautiful space that can give back o the local community.

Which we have the exciting task of creating and shaping this space!
Posted 22 Mar 2020 12:18

We will put together a pack of feasibility drawings for an initial design proposal for the Manchester Botanical gardens. The proposal will be a mixture of new build and renovation work. The design will then be submitted by the client to grant and funding schemes such as the national lottery to try and raise funding for the project.
We understand that the proposal must include:
1. Temperature controlled greenhouses along the side of the grade II listed wall to be removed and replaced in the same location due to certain plants.
2. New purpose built space to host visitors such as members of the public and school groups.
3. Existing staff building to either be replaced or renovated to make fit for purpose. Space to include mess room and an office big enough for 3 people.
4. A lockable store where landscaping and gardening equipment can be housed - please indicate what equipment would need to be stored so we can allow enough space.
5. New boiler house to be smaller and can be relocated on site.
6. Large open garages to be removed.
7. Dark, damp greenhouse at back of site to be renovated.

8. A connection and access route to be made between Botanical gardens and the Chancellor’s hotel so that spaces can be used in conjunction for functions such as weddings.
9. A new pond to be relocated on site.
10. A woodland walk to support shade loving plants.
11. A variety of different planting beds.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 13:37

The reason why the Botanical Blueprint scheme is important to Fallowfield and the wider community is that the project will create links to the community, schools and private businesses in a bio-diverse, visually rich space.

The benefit of these connections is that the botanical garden creates a safe, beautiful, inclusive place to learn, grow, develop for school children and adults alike.

It also provides key links to local businesses and boosts mental wellbeing, social outlets and revitalises a currently underutilized space.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 13:49

The client is looking to fund the project through grant schemes. They will apply to the Wellcome Trust, National Lottery fund and internally at the University of Manchester. In order to win funding from these bodies we had to look at what the funding requirements were. They all stressed the importance of providing something for the local community.
The criteria for the National Lottery funding states that it looks for projects that:
• bring people together and build strong relationships in and across communities
• improve the places and spaces that matter to communities
• help more people to reach their potential, by supporting them at the earliest possible stage.

It is with these considerations in mind that we shaped the brief in order to give the client the best chance of winning funding.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 15:28

A place where we can preserve many kinds of plants from around the world for research and education purpose. They will put the plants based on their groups. For example, they will put the tropical plants in group with the same temperature as the origin climate.

Today, botanical garden is very important for serving research and education purposes at universities and other institutes of education. The researchers may get something from the plants and develop experiments with the pollen of a specific species. It is very important for the researchers to have the accurate background and climate to study

Reference :
Posted 22 Mar 2020 16:02

Throughout EVENTS20 various team members will be holding mini skills tutorials from Sketch up with Irena to Photoshop with Alex.

Anything your not sure on one of the team will definitely be able to help you with it!

We are also having external tutorials on Landscape Design, where you will learn some of the basics of how to design Landscapes, hopefully picking up some tips and tricks for the future!
Posted 22 Mar 2020 16:35

We did the site visit on 15th January to have a better understanding of the project aim. On the first site visit, Professor Giles Johnson as our collaborator explained to us what is the botanical garden and how they operate the garden. There is a construction site inside the site thus we need permission to enter the site.

We entered the greenhouse which has different room for a different type of plants. We can see the different types of plants based on their own climate. As we walked around the site, Giles explains there will be a possibility to have a connection to the next-door hotel.

From our first site visit, we understand that we need to make a landscape and architecture design proposal to provide the botanical gardens and teaching activities.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 16:38

In order to get inspiration for this project we decided to do a precedence study trip to a local botanical gardens. Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens in Didsbury, Greater Manchester is a good example of a popular botanical garden. It also has some of the features we hope to include in our design for this project, for example a woodland walk and water features. There is also a strong connection to the community with spaces where local artists can display their work and social clubs can meet, for example yoga classes take place in the onsite community building.
We decided to go have a look at the gardens before taking the undergraduate students there to assess the practicalities and usefulness of a trip to this site. After visiting we felt this would be a good place to take BA students so that they could develop a strong understanding of what a botanical garden is and also start thinking of concept ideas and get inspired for when we reached the design phase of the project.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 17:27

Hulme Community Garden Centre is a unique community-led inner-city horticultural project. Their mission is to bring the community together through gardening. Designed by urbanism environmental design firm URBED, HCGC is a fully stocked nursery that also offers a volunteer, education and training hub working with socially excluded people across Greater Manchester.

HCGC provide support, education and training for people who, for whatever reason, have been marginalised by society. They work with schools, colleges, businesses and partner other voluntary organisations and community groups encouraging people to grow their own food, green their own communities and lead active and healthier lifestyles.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 17:36

After sitting down with our collaborator, we devised a programme for the project. This programme includes elements that are necessary for a successful transformation of the botanical gardens.

The programme includes:
- A new temperature controlled greenhouse to be built in the same place as the existing
- A new education centre to host visitors and members of local schools
- The existing staff building to be renovated to include a mess room and office big enough for 3 people
- Lockable storage space where gardening equipment will be housed
- A new and smaller boiler house
- The removal of the existing large garages
- The existing dark and damp greenhouse to be renovated
- A connecting route from the botanical gardens to the adjacent Chancellor's Hotel with spaces to use for functions/weddings
- A new pond
- A new woodland walk with shade loving plants
- A variety of different planting beds
Posted 22 Mar 2020 18:19

Through a tutorial with Andy Sinclair from Vector Design Concepts, the Event will provide an overview into planting strategies, and how planting can be used to create atmosphere. It is important to consider how the planting will vary with the seasons as well as how it will change over time.

Image references:

Oudolf, P. Planting Strategy. [Online image] [Accessed 18th March 2020]

Oudolf, P. Wildflower Planting. [Online image] [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Posted 22 Mar 2020 18:29

Groundcover is a very important, and often overlooked, aspect of landscape architecture. Through a tutorial from Andy Sinclair, from Vector Design Concepts, the Event will cover the different forms of paving and the impact of materiality.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 18:31

Our site is split into clear zones which create defined areas across the garden, this plan shows a rough idea of our design concept.
For example the the education zone which includes the existing site office and teaching space with a new build community class room space. The rest of the design is split by the needs given to us by our collaborator for example, the woodland walk, renovated glass houses and the pond zone.

We also looked at better connections to the existing site, for example a more clear entrance into the garden and a connection to the hotel at the rear to offer space for weddings and parties.

We will now look at three of these key areas in detail to better explain how each area can work separately.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 18:34

The teaching space zone creates an area for the garden to be used as an educational space, the existing building would be renovated to create an office, toilet and class room space and a new building would be proposed next door to create an area for the local community to use as a flexible space for teaching and running classes.
For example local primary schools could use the space to teach students about the outdoor environment or a local yoga group could use the space for classes facing onto the garden. The space would also be used by the University of Manchesters Biology department.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 18:39

The two existing grade two listed glass houses would be retained and renovated, glass would be renovated to match the historic design and the interiors redone to create defined areas inspired by the planting inside, for example the European room or the tropical room. These defined areas
teach visitors to the garden about the type of planting found in different climates with new signage and better information zones.
Finally as you enter the space the old brick building would be renovated into a clearer entrance hall to allow visitors to clearly find their way into the glass houses and experience the different planting.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 18:44

Finally, the area at the rear corner of the garden would be transformed into a woodland walk, currently overgrown with large trees and bushes, the area can be cut back to create a path which winds through the woodland and allows visitors to experience the planting. Inspired by the precedent at Didsbury Botanical Garden. The space would have places to sit around the path and creates a different atmosphere in the garden attracting visitors.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 18:54

One of the Event’s landscape workshops will be run by Andy Sinclair, a landscape architect, who is kindly joining us from Vector Design Concepts. Andy has a varied design portfolio, ranging from gardens and commercial development sites through to large scale masterplanning and public realm schemes. His presentation will provide a ‘crash course’ in landscape design that will assist in the development of our proposal.

Image references:

Vector Design Concepts. Sweet Street, Leeds. [Online image] [Accessed 18th March 2020]

Vector Design Concepts. Andy Sinclair. [Online image] [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Posted 22 Mar 2020 19:04

Joren Heise is a landscape architect at Urbed and a LULU design tutor at the University of Manchester. Joren has kindly agreed to attend our mid-event pin up; he will critique our work and offer important advice on how to best progress the project.

Image references:

URBED. Joren Heise. [Online image] [Accessed 18th March 2020]

URBED. Hulme Community Garden Centre. [Online image] [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Posted 22 Mar 2020 19:05