International design competition to be launched to make Piccadilly area ‘world class’

Proposals will be based on a consultation earlier this year, which attracted 1,700 responses from residents.

The Manc The Manc - 2nd August 2021

Manchester City Council has announced plans to launch an international design competition this autumn to create a “world class space” in the area centred around Piccadilly Gardens.

With an estimated construction budget of around £25 million, the council is inviting urban design and landscape teams from across the globe to present their ideas for the regeneration of the 10-acre site – which also takes in Mosley Street and New York Street, Parker Street, the section of Portland Street which Piccadilly Gardens runs alongside, and the section of Piccadilly which runs alongside the gardens.

The Piccadilly area has been described as a “prominent gateway location” as it serves a unique range of functions – including as a major route through the city centre, a transport interchange, a space for markets and events, a meeting place and a green space to spend time.

The council says that work will continue to develop a detailed design brief ahead of expressions of interest being invited in autumn this year from those looking to take part in the competition.

The competition comes after over 1,700 responses were submitted by Manchester people, businesses and organisations at a consultation held earlier this year that discussed future uses for the area.


So, what brief will competition entrants need to follow then?

Manchester City Council says it envisages that Piccadilly will be a special place with a strong sense of identity, welcoming and uniquely-Mancunian, and one that allows for the flexible hosting of events.


It must be “a place for all” that incorporates space where children can play, while full access and inclusivity will also be integral to the design process.

The council recognises that it is important to the people of Manchester to retain a green space in the centre of the city, and is calling for planting to encourage biodiversity and improve air quality in line with the wider environmental goals.

It is also essential that the design promotes safety, and is well lit with clear sightlines.


The council says it is looking to potentially relocate existing Parker Street bus services if improved alternatives can be found, and the winning design will need to retain the existing listed monuments and statues, and tramlines and infrastructure, as well as the existing Pavilion structure.

The Piccadilly area has been described as a “prominent gateway location” as it serves a unique range of functions / Credit: Manchester City Council

Speaking ahead of the competition’s launch this autumn, Sir Richard Leese – Leader of Manchester City Council – said: “The Piccadilly area has the potential to become an outstanding open space in the heart of Manchester, befitting the city’s international status.

“We recognise that it needs to be transformed to ensure that it can realise its potential as a welcoming and flexible space.

“We want to create a place that people are talking about for all the right reasons.

“The publication of this notice is an important step closer to this aspiration and underlines the ambition we have for the area – ambition we know that Manchester people share – and we will of course be seeking further views from the public later down the line once we have a successful scheme to put to them.”


You can find more about the Piccadilly Design Competition here.

Featured Image – Manchester City Council