Empowering Manchester

Greater Manchester's mayor, Andy Burnham, has pledged to make the county carbon neutral by 2038 to tackle climate change and help the UK become carbon neutral by 2050, in line with the United Nations climate 'Conference of Parties' goals.

This thesis project will attempt to identify specific methods, in line with the GM 5-Year Plan, to achieve this target, beginning at the site of a historic colliery in Bradford, Manchester. The project will explore, research, design, and implement interventions to be used as precedents for other towns within Greater Manchester to follow, with the aim to incite other counties throughout the UK, and eventually, the United Nations, to follow.

Part 2 focuses on the re-use of a gasholder on the site of the Bradford colliery and its immediate surroundings. It explores in detail the site-specific interventions proposed in Part 1 and how high- and low-tech architectural design and landscaping can contribute to sequestering more carbon within this community.

The gasholder re-use development into a renewable combined heat and power (CHP) plant for the local district is scrutinised, along with methods of construction, materiality choices and carbon cost figures to assess the viability of a project such as this. This part of the thesis develops the mid-and-micro scale details and provides a set of scaled technical drawings to validate and expand on the themes outlined in Part 1.

Part 3 focuses on portraying messages via different mediums. These messages include explaining the building’s primary function, how humans and nonhumans currently use the site, how carbon can be sequestered via mycelium and wetland restoration, and communicating the process of growing mycelium to be used as an insulative material. We chose to represent these messages using a range of media: a 1:100 model, a series of photographs from the site, drawings and animation.