MA A+U 2020_21

Project 4 – The Spirit of Place



The history of this area is fascinating, but in its contemporary state it is difficult to imagine. In this group we will try and bring back some of the spirit of Trafford Park and the grand and fantastic ideas that shaped what it once was! From the building of the Manchester Ship Canal and the forming of Trafford Park Industrial Estate (with The Westinghouse factory providing houses for a community of workers)……. to Pomona Island and it’s Palace design to give pleasure to the workers of Greater Manchester in the 1900’s.

There are 4 main themes to the project;

Theme ONE – Community Resilience

A community can support itself on a local level and provide employment housing food and recreation. Westinghouse in Trafford Park was a factory with a community workforce but the industry it supported died. What is the modern version of Westinghouse? Which skills should we educate people in now for our current climate and how can it feed back into the community so it can support itself? How does a shift in working from home affect non physical roles and mobily and can we make a community more suited to these new modern patters of life to replace lost traditions of place.

Theme TWO – Repairing and Recycling

How do we repair a place, but also how do we repair and recycle the goods, materials and objects we use? By giving them value and respect. If we turn away from the disposable culture the world has fostered, it is possible to massively reduce the need for the production of new materials. Pomona Island, once home to the Pamona Palace, designed solely for recreation, is now a wasteland set to be developed with more high rise apartments. It is edged by recycling/ reclaimers /wreckers yards. How could this be a new type of recreation space to replace the Botanical Garden, and Pleasure Palace, now lost. Or become a series of workshops to recycle and repair and make things we care about and so give value to. This project explores the idea of re-purposing and recycling space and objects, adding to the theme of education and giving people skills and a sense of worth.

Theme THREE – Making

How do we heal and repair ourselves and our cities. We are all struggling with our mental health, exasperated by Covid 19. The world holds money and power above people and well being. Making is a way of feeling better. The projects will have a heavy lean on making. The process of making with your hands is therapeutic and allows your brain and hands to make links you cannot recreate digitally. As part of our own healing and exploration in studio, you should be prepared to make many physical models and experiment with something other than cardboard.

Theme FOUR – Transportation

When major transport routes are introduced to a city it is like a fresh wound in the urban fabric, the design focus is on the network or the car. But with a shift away from the car to more sustainable travel; cycling, walking, we can reclaim the fractured spaces left behind by these networks and reconnect broken urban links. Trafford park and Pomona Island are connected to the city in several ways by road, canal and rail. There are opportunities to look at the spaces around these routes with fresh eyes and also consider the ideas of ‘Mobility’in place making. We can re-connect people with the spirit of the place and in doing so reinforce our idea of a more resilent landscape and community.

In order to explore these themes I would like us to research an area of Trafford, South West of Manchester City Centre, and in particular two sites of historic interest; Pomona Island and Trafford Park Village

Between the two sites is the Old Trafford Area which has its own interesting past, and was once the site of The Manchester Botanical Gardens. It is now home to Manchester United football club.

The various networks of the area will be part of our investigation to engage with the idea of Mobility and place making as part of motion based experiences of space and landscape. But also to change the emphasis to people and not cars. Some routes routes like the canals are in harmony with the context and others came later, and leave interesting yet fractured spaces. But they all provide opportunity for design and to experiment with the idea of place.

One of the first things we can do together is complete this diagram by discussing the various themes and how they might link up / overlap.

Please remember that this is a post graduate degree so I am not your teacher as much as your colleague. This is your exploration.

Westinghouse and Trafford Park Village.

Pomona Island

Old Trafford

More will follow……………………..

Julie Fitzpatrick

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