Reimagining Stockport : Exhibition of 10 Architecture students sustainable revival of a high street.

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Masters in Architecture Year in Review Sheffield School of Architecture Tutored by Jo Sharples of

EDITIONAL STUDIO Architecture + Design Shop

INTRODUCTION Urban centres of many northern towns have suffered sequential blows at the hand of de-industrialisation and the rise of the internet shopper. In their wake the silently pillaged centres are left forlorn for lack of purpose. The beguiling mills stand awkwardly tall, shopping precincts are unbearably quiet without the energising custom they once had. It poses a huge question of our time - what will become of these centres, what is their reason for being? Is there an antidote to the emptiness and how can we recreate a collective, civic society. Attempts to conservatively restore our towns to bi-gone Victorian era of the butchers, bakers and candlestick makers by the governments High Street Tsars, has been widely acknowledged as a resounding failure. As if ignoring the technological and societal change that has occurred since the Napoleonic ridicule of our ‘nation of shopkeepers’ could resolve the issue. Yet, in an era when we can no longer afford to simply knock down and start again to satisfy our seemingly perpetual desire for newness, how can we establish a longer term plan for economic stimulation, a sense of local particularity and community cohesion? We used the year to propose alternative urban approaches starting from a position of frugality and re-use. The emptiness invites an opportunism to be seized, an open invitation to re-imagine what is valuable about our towns and what a sustainable alternative might look like. I would like to send sincere thanks to all the students this year who have worked thorough unimaginable difficulties, and along with them brought an unforgettable shift in perspective. We must re-build wisely. Jo Sharples, 2019 Cover Image Monumental + Mundane b y A s h l e y D u n f o r d & J o s e p h M a r s h a l l L e f t Paper Tapestries, group project



Merseyway [Real] Estate by Will Beesley Stitching the Street by Eleanor Derbyshire The Merseyway Library by James Chapman


The Alga Centre by Janani Rajeswaran


monumental + mundane by Ashley Dunford & Joseph Marshall


Made to Order: Stockport by Sebastian Chambers


Never Obsolete by Bethany Lodge


The Underbank Arts Centre by Lauren Jones


An Accumulative Landscape by Jonny Fougler Royal Oak Yard Housing by Rebecca Earnshaw

STITCHING THE STREET by Eleanor Derbyshire

Left View of renovated frontage. Right Image of meeting room and public through route junction.

This retrofit project breathes new life and purpose into the Merseyway shopping centre by converting the existing concrete frame into a beautiful office building. Original car ramps and bridges that navigate Stockport’s characteristically steep topography, crash through the building creating an unexpected interior. A new courtyard is carved in the centre of the building’s deep plan, creating a secluded inner court where people can venture down to view the River Mersey flowing below - a moment that reunites a town with its lost underbelly.

Left View of river vantage point. Right Timber additions upon existing concrete. Below View of canteen and entrance ramp, a last remnant of the previously life of the car park.

M E R S E Y WAY [ R E A L ] E S TAT E by Will Beesley

Left High level i s o m e t r i c d r a w i n g Right Existing facade elevation study.

Thesis project looking at how a redundant modernist shopping centre in Stockport can facilitate a self-finish housing scheme. The project addresses the lack of affordable housing and the declining use of the high street which results in vacancy in the centre of our towns and cities. The existing concrete frame of the shopping centre is retained, with sections removed to create two inner streets and a series of stacked housing units. The dwellings are left bare and open - to allow future residents to adapt and personalise their homes, over time the homes are modified, and the concrete frame is engulfed in greenery.

Left Vision for the Merseyway. Right View of inner street from deck level. Below Plan of housing units within the existing c o n c r e t e f r a m e .





T H E M E R S E Y WAY LIBRARY by James Chapman

Left The Central Public Atrium Right Intimate reading spaces in the library

Many urban towns in the north of England have suffered greatly at the hand of de-industrialisation and the rise of the internet shopper, and in their wake their centres are left destitute for lack of purpose. This proposal sets to create a contemporary library in the heart of Stockport – creating a self-sustaining civic centre that is sorely needed to bring life back into the town.

Left View of the flexible exhibition space and route through the building. Right

Ground floor plan

Below External the Merseyway.



THE ALGA CENTRE by Janani Rajeswaran

Left farm.

View of the algae


Concept collage.

The story begins with a secret and dark river flowing through Stockport, the River Mersey. The river has a high concentration of nonbiodegradable micro-plastics causing species, like Salmon to never return. The Alga Centre brings together researchers, scientists, artists and the local community to present the newly evolving worlds of bio-plastics made with the old M&S building at the centre of the high street. The old retail juggernaut is converted into a plastic recycling plant and civic research centre.

Left Arriving into the atrium with displayed algae raceway ponds and live exhibitions. Right Converted shop front to bio-plastic research centre in the heart of the town. Below The processing of plastic and collection from the river taking place in the basement.

M O N U M E N TA L + MUNDANE by Ashley Dunford & Joseph Marshall

Left Artist ‘shed’ sails over the tudor timber frame banking hall on Great Underbank. Right The residential courtyard allotment gardens with sheltered gallery above.

This project seeks to explore the essence of place and re-imagine new potential uses in the high street. The resulting scheme forms small pockets of community, embodied in two courtyards; one residential, one studio courtyard. These courtyards formalise an informal, forgotten yard space in the urban fabric. Through a clashing of scales and a contemporary interpretation of the brutalist Merseyway the scheme seeks to create a new shared identity and strong pockets of community, forged from what is there.

Left Interior of the artist shed which creates a large covered space for large scale making and communal gathering. Right at night.

The new yard spaces

B e l o w T h e new yard spcaes are carved out from the existing concrete frame of the Merseyway and around the old banking hall, creating a new public route.


Left View inside an artist studio space, with hemp lined insulation panels and timber frame exposed, creating a warm and soft interior. Right A close up view of the hempcrete and timber frame which wraps the existing concrete frame of the Merseyway shopping centre and reinterprets its linear concrete panelling. Below A model of



MADE TO ORDER: STOCKPORT by Sebastian Chambers

Left View of the g a l l e r y e n t r a n c e . A new focal point at the historic junction.


Right First floor plan of the new cottage industry makers facing into a communal court.

Made to Order: Stockport is a reaction to the failing high street. The traditional high street is no longer sustainable with buyer’s trends so the project embraces online retailing of bespoke products by smaller retailers through a global platform. Building upon three vacant council owned buildings in the historic centre of the town, MTO provides community and low cost private studio space. Clad in shimmering aluminium panels it seeks to drive the town into a digitally driven, ecologically conscious future.

Left The Makers Yard. A new enclave and reclamation store. Right North-East Isometric. Below Section showing the public gallery and private studios climbing Mealhouse Brow.

NEVER OBSOLETE by Bethany Lodge

Left View of the debating chamber accessed directly from the high street. Right Oriel windows act as both voting booths and vitrines displaying acts of democracy.

This thesis project explores how the legacy of our once bustling high streets can be utilised to shift the environmentally unethical and unsustainable practices that perpetuate the disenfranchisement of local communities, challenging the current approach to renewal and local democracy on both a strategic and architectural level to dismantle illusions of obsolescence. The proposition reimagines the public interface of local councils, disseminating the most public fronted departments throughout the high street, re-establishing these urban centres as the heart of our communities.

Left The repopulated high street. Right Elevation Studies. balancing cohesion and particularity. Below Perspective section creating grandeur within the existing.


Left Street Lower Hillgate. Right Internal gallery space.

view view

from of

The historic Little Underbank street currently stands vastly vacant with local people struggling to understand why more opportunities aren’t being taken up here. To bring life and prosperity back to the street an arts centre, built into the existing building fabric, can act as a community hub and kick-start an urban development scheme in the area in the future. The building programme revolves around an artist-in-residence scheme which allows rising artists to live and work surrounded by the local community and create their own exhibitions.

Left View of a p p r o a c h to main entrance. Right

Perspective section.

Below Elevation from Coopers Brow.

R O YA L O A K YA R D HOUSING by Rebecca Earnshaw

Left Material exploration. Giving a new use to existing on site material. Right An urban oasis, starting from growing an urban garden in the Royal Oak Yard

A housing scheme in the heart of Stockport’s town centre. Developed on a former goods yard to the rear of the historic high street, Royal Oak Yard Housing has been designed to grow around a central garden, forming a communal hub. A soft urban pocket within the hard landscape. Making use of the existing topography, the new build flats sit partially within the rich red sandstone cliff face taking advantage of this unique situation.

Left The community kitchen - the schemes social hub. Right Living in the rock face - a bedroom built into the cliff. Below A Garden for the town - a soft urban garden in the harder wider landscape.

A N A C C U M U L AT I V E LANDSCAPE by Jonny Foulger

Left Section though theatre of making Right Plan through the converted shop fronts to Little Underbank and the extension of the tunnel network for underground cool stores. Below Scrap yard of materials for re-use, surrounded by deep red rammed earth walls, excavated from the underground stores.

The project examines and rethinks the typology of the department store and explores how such a building may be updated to exist within the modern urban condition. Through localised production and spending within vacant spaces, the project promotes a collective and self-sustaining society which responds to the declining high street and the global climate emergency. Items both made and sold are intended to encourage an improved attitude to localised economies and support cocreation between producers and users.

Left Entrance view of the large puncture through the existing shop in to the production courtyards beyond. Right Coffee roaster scaling the steep topography and glasshouses from growing above. Below Section cutting through the scheme from Lower Hillgate through the Royal Oak Yard and into the underground storage of existing air raid shelters.

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