New York City's much-lauded High Line – which involved repurposing disused railway tracks into a raised park – has been such a success that cities worldwide have raced to copy it. Manchester, England, is the latest to do so and plans are underway to transform one of the industrial city's former railway viaducts, which dates back to the Victorian era, into a lush, greenery filled raised park.
Built in 1892 by Heenan and Froude, the engineers behind the Blackpool Tower, Castlefield Viaduct measures 330 m (roughly 1,000 ft) long. It originally held rail lines that served a goods warehouse and was used to move coal around. It's been left unused since 1969, with only required maintenance for safety being carried out in the years since. Nature has already done some of the work showing what a park could look like up there and there are a great deal of weeds and shrubs growing on it naturally already.
The project is designed by Twelve Architects, which is also behind the plan to build houses in Silverstone, in collaboration with the UK's National Trust (an organization which preserves monuments and places of historic interest and natural beauty), and the local authorities.
The first phase is considered a pilot project and will be installed in mid-2022. Visitors will enter into a welcome area containing kiosks, a food truck and café, as well as seating and bathrooms with composting toilets. They will then be taken through a tour of the viaduct as it currently stands, looking dilapidated and left largely as-is, though with a new footpath for accessibility and some guardrails for safety.
Finally, visitors will reach a third area filled with plants and shrubs installed in rusted steel planters designed to reference the industrial heritage of the site. Other nods to the area's past will include balustrades with bolts shaped like the old sleeper carriages that would have traversed the bridge. This area will be able to host events, exhibitions and artworks.
Members of the public will be asked for feedback on the first phase of the project, which will help shape the second phase – a permanent installation. We've no word on any timetable for the second phase.
Source: Twelve Architects