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Landscape architecture students to create designs for Manchester’s proposed new Peace Garden

Landscape architecture students are to help shape the design of Manchester’s proposed replacement Peace Garden. The tree-filled memorial space, including the Messenger of Peace statue of a woman with doves by sculptor Barbara Pearson, was removed from St Peter’s Square in 2014 to make way for the improvements such as the second city tram crossing.

But space in the redevelopment of nearby Lincoln Square in Brazenose Street has been provisionally identified as a suitable site for a new Peace Garden.

Around 40 postgraduate students from the Manchester School of Architecture – jointly operated by Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester – have been given a week to devise proposals for the new-look space as part of a project designed to introduce the new students to the city, local industry professionals and each other.

Eddy Fox, Landscape Architecture Programme Leader at the Manchester School of Architecture, said: “This project is an intensive introductory design project which is undertaken by all students on the Master of Landscape Architecture course.

“It is an exciting opportunity for our students to work on proposals for the redesign of a public space in Manchester city centre, which forms part of a wider regeneration scheme and has been proposed as the likely location for a new Manchester Peace Garden, replacing one which previously formed a part of St Peter’s Square.

“The project will be undertaken in close cooperation with The Friends of Manchester Peace Garden, and will be used to generate ideas and concepts which may help to influence the thinking of the council and developers as they take their proposals forward for the space.

“Our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and from all over the world and considering the instability of global politics and the recent Manchester Arena attack, this appeared to be a project of particular relevance and value to us.”

Members of The Friends of Manchester Peace Garden and representatives of design practice Planit-IE will visit the Manchester School of Architecture – ranked 6th best in the world and 2nd best in the UK, according to the QS Subject Rankings 2017 – to brief students, who will also receive guidance from tutors.

Concepts are sought that create a striking, inviting and fully accessible space; reflect the meaning and values associated with the idea of peace in the 21st Century; commemorate the people and communities of Manchester who have campaigned for peace and social justice; address contemporary challenges such as climate change, urban density and liveable cities; and re-conceive the idea of the garden in the city as a space of contemplation, regeneration and reconciliation.

Steve Roman, spokesman for The Friends of Manchester Peace Garden, said: “We have been in discussion with Manchester City Council officers and senior councillors for several years and submitted a prioritised list of city centre sites in which we would like to see the Peace Garden re-established.

“After we addressed the council executive last October the then-leader, Sir Richard Leese, stated that Lincoln Square would be the location for the new Peace Garden.

“Thanks to the generous involvement of Eddy and the Landscape Architecture team, the Friends will be able to put our ideas for a new Peace Garden in visual, presentational form.”

Working in groups, the students will prepare their entries in the Centre for Digital Innovation, Manchester Metropolitan University’s multidisciplinary space that brings together research, business, commercial and teaching under one roof.

Their designs will be unveiled and judged by a panel selected from various interested bodies at a presentation and prize-giving ceremony to be held on September 29 at the Centre for Digital Innovation, located on Manchester Metropolitan University’s All Saints Campus off Oxford Road.

The plaques, memorials and statues that were located in the original Peace Garden are in storage and have been earmarked for re-siting in a new Peace Garden alongside potential new artworks, poetry or imagery; the existing Lincoln Square statues; and gingko trees currently being grown at Dunham Massey from seed donated to Manchester City Council by the Mayor of Hiroshima.

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