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MacEwen 2024 shortlist: Mayfield Park, Manchester

‘Ambition and a change of tack… could this set a model for other cities?’

Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West.
Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West. Credit: Danny Williams

Mayfield Park, Manchester
The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West for LandsecU+I
Contract cost: Confidential

GIA: 2.6ha

At its heart, the 2.6ha Mayfield Park is a beautiful and safe oasis… a place for everyone, providing a lush, biodiverse and healthy amenity for the whole community,’ said developer Sam Jarrett of LandsecU+I.

It would be easy to dismiss this entry as token green space in a huge commercial development, but to do so would deny that it has ‘lots of benefits’, said judge Stacey Barry. Sadly, developers are rarely this generous with their green space provision; as Isabelle Priest neatly summarised: ‘The incentive not to do it is very strong, and Manchester has few city centre public parks or even trees.’ Judge Je Ahn summed up the political reality: ‘From a London point of view this sort of project is a given but is often not the case elsewhere – it is not as easy to pull off. Could this set a model for other cities?’

Mayfield Park is the first part of a wider regeneration of brownfield land in central Manchester which will comprise homes, workplaces and retail. Unusually, the developer chose to deliver the park before the commercial development. Mayfield Park forms ‘part of a commitment to weave this previously disused area into the fabric of the city and create a destination for the local and wider community’, it said.

  • Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West.
    Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West. Credit: Richard Bloom
  • Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West.
    Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West. Credit: Richard Bloom
  • Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West.
    Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West. Credit: Richard Bloom
  • Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West.
    Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West. Credit: Richard Bloom
  • Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West
    Mayfield Park, Manchester by The Mayfield Partnership and Studio Egret West
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The park itself mixes green and blue habitats, including wildflower meadows and part of the River Medlock – one of Manchester’s founding rivers. The aim of this regeneration is to provide the neighbourhood with environmental, social and health benefits, including reduced air pollution, increased access to natural space and facilitated mental wellbeing. Moreover, the intervention uncovers 70m of the river that had previously been culverted or hidden by high walls, generating wet-dry habitats.

Mayfield Park has also been designed accessibly, with zones connected by 700m of accessible paths. The space is truly intended to provide for the people of Manchester; amenities include a bespoke play yard and the ‘MayField’, an open space for community and charity focused events. Additionally, 150 new construction jobs were also created in relation to the project.

As judge Je Ahn aptly commented: ‘If [shortlisting] for this award makes the rest of the country sit up and start making this sort of deal with developers, then it will be worth it.’

‘It has ambition, and is a change of tack on behalf of the council,’ added judge Isabelle Priest. ‘It is an attractive park too.’

 

See more on MacEwen shortlisted projects and architecture for the common good 

 

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