Lizzie Crook | 11 October 2022
Weathered-steel planters feature in the linear park that London studio Twelve Architects and the National Trust conservation charity have created on the disused Castlefield Viaduct in Manchester.
Described by the team as a “sky park”, the overhaul transforms the Victorian cast-iron and steel railway structure into an inviting green space in the city’s cultural heart.
The grade II-listed Castlefield Viaduct was once used to transport goods in and out of Manchester but it has remained idle since the city’s central station closed in 1969.
Its transformation was designed by Twelve Architects for the National Trust to demonstrate how the area’s industrial heritage could be preserved while bringing nature to the city.
The adaptive reuse project has been led by the National Trust as a pilot scheme for the railway viaduct’s permanent transformation, meaning this scheme is only temporary.
However, the charity will now be fundraising to make it a permanent part of Manchester and invite the public to give feedback that could lead to its permanent transformation.
“We want to encourage visitors to discover and enjoy this distinctive space, which pays homage to the classic industrial structure which has shaped this area’s history,” said Twelve Architects director Matt Cartwright.
“I hope the public agrees that bringing new life to this iconic structure is something we should build on in the future.”
The project was first revealed by Twelve Architects in 2021, when the studio told Dezeen that its design was informed by the New York City High Line by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
The studio’s final design for the park was developed with The National Trust’s own landscaping team and is divided into three zones.
According to the studio, these zones have been curated to “take visitors on a journey of discovery from the viaduct that ‘is’ to the viaduct that ‘could be'”.
The entrance to the sky park acts as a welcome area, fitted with a kiosk, seating and toilets. Here, a green wall is used to conceal the park beyond, ensuring a grand reveal.[…]
The project aims to show the potential of the disused viaduct. Photo is by Twelve Architects
More: Manchester viaduct repurposed as public park by Twelve Architects