St. John's Neighbourhood - Public Realm Strategy & Planning Applications

Manchester, UK

St. John’s neighbourhood is the transformation of the former ITV and Granada Studios into an exciting, new mixed-use neighbourhood in central Manchester, one of the largest city centre regeneration projects in the North of England. Gillespies has created a distinctive public realm vision, strategy and masterplan, as well as the public realm design for eight individual planning applications for all the main zones of the neighbourhood including ‘The Factory’, a major new cultural venue for the city. 

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The 25-acre masterplan for Manchester Quays Limited – a joint venture between Allied London and Manchester City Council – will reinvent the area between the Castlefield district and Spinningfields business quarter, an area formally home to Granada Television studios and surrounded by heritage assets such as the Museum of Science and History (MOSI) and listed buildings within the St. John’s Street Conservation Area. Manchester’s layered history has been critical in informing the development of the vision and Masterplan for the site and the decision to retain a series of non-designated heritage assets.

The client's vision for St. John’s is to create an engaging and exciting mixed-use neighbourhood for Manchester that brings together enterprise, innovation, culture, entertainment and leisure, in a unique living environment in the heart of the city. Gillespies’ designs for enhancing the public realm celebrate St. John’s detailed history by layering the public realm with texture, interest, cultural and historic reference, creating a series of new animated streets and dynamic public spaces – courtyards, sky gardens and public squares - set around the area’s historic listed buildings. These spaces are located at both street and higher levels, creating multi-level interest and activity. 

Gillespies have been the consistent driving force behind the landscape of the masterplan and have collaborated with a number of different architects including OMA, Simpson Haugh, Child Graddon Lewis, Levitt Bernstein and Buckley Gray Yeoman. In addition to the strategy work, Gillespies have  provided landscape design for the individual planning applications for all of the major zones of the Masterplan including St Johns Place, Old Granada Studios, Central Village, Towers 1 &2, The Factory, Bonded Warehouse, South Village and Trinity Islands. This collaboration with different designers on each zone allowed Gillespies to think comprehensively and deliver a unified, yet rich public realm vision for St. John’s