Castlefield, Manchester, United Kingdom
“Our ambition is to give more people the opportunity to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of green, nature-rich havens on this remarkable heritage structure in the city,” states Duncan Laird, head of urban places at the National Trust.
“This feels especially important in urban areas like Manchester where there is need for more high-quality green spaces. This project will also help bring people back to the city centre and support local businesses to recover.”
London-based Twelve Architects & Masterplanners are working in partnership with the National Trust, Manchester City Council and the people of Manchester to find a future for the remarkable industrial heritage of Castlefield viaduct destined to become the city’s first “High Line.”
The viaduct was built in 1892 and constructed by Heenan and Froude, the engineers who worked on the iconic Blackpool Tower.
It was used to carry rail traffic in and out of Manchester Central railway station until 1969 when the station closed.
Now, the disused iron will be transformed into an elevated garden akin to the High Line in New York or Promenade Plantée in Paris.
The project will bring the Grade II listed viaduct back into use, transforming it into a green oasis in the city.
In a post-pandemic world, it is more important than ever for people to have the opportunity to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of green, nature-rich parks and gardens.
In the short term, a pilot scheme ‘micro park’ will explore and test elements of design and operation, including vegetation planters, a welcome kiosk, F&B offering, guided heritage tours, partner plots that showcase local initiatives, and a temporary event building.
The long-term vision is to transform Castlefield viaduct into a free-to-access park and meeting place for Castlefield residents and visitors.
The Architects’ scheme creates a hidden oasis sitting above the busy city streets.
It will be an intervention that respects the listed structure, celebrates the nature, beauty and history of the viaduct, and is complimentary to the existing plans for Manchester.
The pilot will seek input from local audiences and partners so that we may decide together how the main scheme will ultimately look and feel.
“The Castlefield Viaduct is such an iconic part of Manchester’s heritage, so it’s fantastic to see the National Trust’s plans for breathing new life into this landmark and I look forward to working with them to make this a reality,” states Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester.
“Greater Manchester’s parks and green spaces have been a lifeline over the pandemic, and we’ve all been reminded of how important access to nature is, which is why I’m committed to creating a greener, more liveable communities.”
Project: Castlefield Viaduct
Architects: Twelve Architects & Masterplanners
Original Engineers: Heenan and Froude (1892)
Client: National Trust