THE Office for Subversive Architecture has given its unique twist to Manchester’s Piccadilly Basin as part of the Cultural Olympiad.
Following an international design competition for students from the Manchester School of Architecture and the École Spéciale d‘Architecture, in Paris, a formerly neglected site has been transformed into Atelier [zero], a buzzing hive of activity, complete with boating on the wharf and artists’ studios.
It features canal-side community huts, inspired by the Olympic Village, which line the tow path in a quirky take on a terraced street, as well as a book exchange known as “The Library With No Books”, a children’s ball pool and a relaxation room. The chalets, which face Vantage Quay apartments, are available for artists to adopt free of charge for as much of the project as they wish.
Lampposts have been turned into basketball nets while other street furniture is integrated into a selection of Olympic sports pitches. Five rowing boats have been moored in the wharf, creating a boating lake.
Professor Tom Jefferies, head of the Manchester School of Architecture said: “The idea of Atelier is to curate urban space, connecting leading edge artists with internationally recognised Schools of Architecture in a project that is a prototype for critical engagement with the city. This is a new model of multidisciplinary practice that directly affects how we use and understand space and place.”
Jane Anderson, the project’s curator said: “Atelier [zero] is a worldwide premiere bringing together partnerships for the first time. This contemporary commission aims towards rethinking the way we engage with the urban environment by creating a playful intervention which we hope will inspire visitors to creatively occupy the site.”
Atelier[zero] will remain on site until 2 September.
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