Escape (to) the City

Since its beginnings in 1960s the Mancunian Way has served a monolithic purpose to facilitate vehicular traffic. However, the inevitable implications of time have made the grey concrete structure become a barrier – physical, social, and natural. This is where the recognition that the Mancunian Way no longer serves its purpose developed the project “Escape (to) the City,” aimed at opening the Mancunian Way to pedestrian access, and giving it space to breathe in natural life through water and rewilding.

Developing from the significance of water and social symbiosis with biodiversity, “Escape (to) the City” offers an alternative nature immersion experience within a rewilded environment in the heart of Manchester. Identifying the lack of green spaces, especially following the Covid-19 pandemic, the design forages the benefits of water and rewilding by regulating the city’s temperature and humidity levels, while providing foraged goods at the in-site shop and cafe. Apart from creating basic jobs reconnecting the community with nature, the lower floor also offers a unique overnight experience at water level, with which all users can find a place to breathe and recharge away from the busy city life.

All of this takes place below a newly re-purposed Mancunian Walkway, promoting pedestrian exploration of the city across the city of Manchester, above which sits a biophilic observation tower to witness the site’s flux to the wild.