New Islington Temporary Site, Manchester

This competition entry forms a proposal for the interim use of a vacant development site in East Manchester. The site is part of the Urban Splash New Islington development, and ideas were sought for a temporary use that would be attractive, easy to bring to an end and deliverable without external funding.

Our idea is to develop a unique maze with a garden retailer, where all of the plants and trees that make up the maze would be for sale. At the end of the temporary use, the ‘plants in pots’ are removed and the land returns to a blank canvas ready for development. The plants would change with the seasons, with a Christmas tree maze over the festive period. Within the maze can be placed garden furniture, shelters, sculptures and lightweight structures, provided by the landscape retailer and local artists.

The maze creates a landscaped, interactive place for the growing community, but remains a temporary, self-sustaining site. Local residents and visitors can have fun interacting with the site, and shop to improve their own home environment at the same time. The idea is self-financing, and is an opportunity for the retailer to access a new urban environment.