Máté Gábor Nagy

Piccadilly Gardens HIVE building

Piccadilly Gardens lacks focus and human scale connection with its surrounding areas and fails to act as a destination in its own right, feeling as though it is on the edge of the city despite being in the centre. The ambition of this design thesis is to propose a sustainable redevelopment of the site and a holistic scheme that includes the homeless and local artists in the design process. Piccadilly Gardens is often compared with its former condition when the historic sunken garden was a well maintained city centre feature, whereas today, Piccadilly Gardens is more often known for antisocial behaviour happening within the site. The Gardens is often mentioned negatively in articles due to the Tadao Ando pavilion’s bare concrete wall, frequently referred to as Manchester’s Berlin Wall. A careful analysis of the existing physical elements was devised across the site in order to investigate the elements that unnecessarily clutter the space. The redevelopment and arrangement of Piccadilly Gardens is designed according to a series of adjustment lines, creating a geometric pattern that reflects the edges of the square. The proposed Piccadilly Gardens HIVE building is assembled from three volumes – Community Centre, Food Market and Event Hall – that are further divided according to functional and programmatic requirements. Each volume is carefully designed to integrate the internal with the external spaces to create connective routes through each volume. In order to facilitate pedestrian flow across the site, the central Food Market volume is turned into a 24/7 open void and the external feature staircase is an unfolding arm that connects the square with the higher levels of the building. Walking on roof tops, around elevations and in-between solid and void elements, Piccadilly Gardens Hive building comes alive through the activity of people exploring and owning the building just like they do with Piccadilly Gardens and the wider city. The Hive and the redeveloped Piccadilly Gardens function as one. This intimate symbiosis of public space and building creates an intersection of experience that is purely Mancunian; by the people, for the people.