Adam Higgins, co-founder of CAPITAL&CENTRIC, expands on the recurring debate behind the giant banner adorning KAMPUS.
‘We don’t trim our bushes’ – read the letters plastered across the scaffolding at KAMPUS. The lush foliage surrounding the text is juxtaposed against a backdrop of scaffolding and concrete … for now that is.
While it’s a little cheeky, it uncovers a debate that rages online about Manchester’s perceived void of quality outdoor spaces. For a city full of colour, it turns out ‘green’ is somewhat missing.
It’s not a new issue. Manchester led the industrial revolution, growing at an astonishing rate as a result. It was grey, it was dark, it was smoky, gritty and industrious. It wasn’t green. In a city built for industrial domination, towering trees and expansive parks weren’t high on the list of requirements.
Today is very different. Manchester is a living, breathing community, where people are itching to live and spend time. While the historic reminders of the industrial revolution are still here – in the stunning listed buildings – people also want to see nature creep into urban life.
We hear that. It’s why we’re putting a jungle-like garden at the very heart of KAMPUS. We’ve designed it to be lush and overgrown. The idea is to create a really laid-back space that embraces a European culture. Manchester may not have the weather (most of the time), but that shouldn’t prevent us enjoying and benefiting from the indoor/outdoor lifestyles people crave.
The beauty will come not just from the planting, but how the design of the neighbourhood reveals the garden to explorers. The historic and new build parts of KAMPUS envelope the interior space, with what will become the Bungalow – currently a concrete box on stilts – providing just enough screening from Canal Street to build intrigue among passers-by.
What you’ll get is a secret space, where we can create the vibe of a relaxed oasis in the heart of very bustling city.
The ‘au naturale’ look of KAMPUS will only get better with age, as the garden’s foliage matures and takes over the buildings. What excites us the most is that we can do this in a historic location, with the formidable Minto&Turner buildings providing a backdrop to the cafes and bars where people will hang out throughout the summer. In a way, it marries what once made Manchester great, to what its residents demand from it today.
And, you know, who doesn’t love a beer in the garden?