Group 11
BLUE LINE

Manchester Blueline: An urban riverside park winding through the city center, facilitating transport, exercise, local businesses and community engagement. We will be exploring the endless possibilities for a new experiential walkway to benefit the people of Manchester. We will be using a variety of expressive representation, including model making, drawing and graphic imagery to generate an innovative design narrative for award winning regeneration company Urban Splash.

Holly S / Georgina C / Rosa Sophia K / Wing Lam (Phoebe) T / Iulia-Georgiana N / Danito O

Hi everyone! I’m Dan, I completed my undergrad in UWE Bristol back in 2018 and have spent 2 years in practice at Glenn Howells Architects in Birmingham (which is where I’m from). I joined MSA back in September 2020 and have chosen Continuity in Architecture as the atelier to be in for its approach that focuses on people and place. Outside architecture you’ll find me either at the climbing gym or at the pub.
Posted 2 Mar 2021 10:06
Upon completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Liverpool in my home city I moved to Manchester to begin my Part I placement in practice in the city centre. I then joined the MSA and am part of the InfraSpace atelier and continuing to explore my architectural interests of building reuse and social productivity in architecture.
Posted 2 Mar 2021 10:07
Hi, I’m Iulia Nastasache and I am part of the Advanced Practice Atelier. I graduated from MSA last summer and I’ve been part of the MSA Live teams for my BA1 and BA2. My interests are environmental architecture and how different design solutions can improve user experience.
Posted 2 Mar 2021 10:08
Hi, I am Phoebe. I graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and worked in practice for a year. I am from the InfraSpace Atelier and am particularly interested in urban scale masterplanning which is also a major element in this project. Upon moving to Manchester last September, my free time activity out of architecture during lockdown is cooking all my meals and trying out new recipes.
Posted 2 Mar 2021 10:09

I am 22 years old, from a small town called Chorley - about 25 miles outside of Manchester. I studied my undergrad at Liverpool John Moores University, graduating in 2020 and continuing straight on to study my MArch at MSA due to being a corona graduate! I am a part of the Praxxis atelier and I love the artistic side of architecture, I enjoy creating illustrative visuals for all my projects.
Posted 2 Mar 2021 10:12
Hello! My name is Rosa and I joined the MSA last September to begin my Master of Architecture. I previously studied at Newcastle University and spent my Part 1 Placement at Glenn Howells Architects based in Birmingham. My area of interest is focused on urban design, masterplanning and infrastructural architecture - hence my joining InfraSpace at the MSA. I am really excited to be working with Urban Splash on this exciting proposal for Manchester!
Posted 2 Mar 2021 12:47
“Love thy neighbourhood”

“Innovation is not an aim for our business but a by-product of never accepting the stock answer. We see change as opportunity, not a threat and start with the belief that there is a better way. It is this belief that makes us open to new ideas, intent on learning and enthusiastic collaborators” – Urban Splash

Founded in 1993, Urban Splash is one of the leading developers in the country, focusing on the regeneration of decaying urban structures. The practice places an emphasis on good design and the importance of good place-making having completed prominent projects in Manchester such as the regeneration of New Islington and Irwell Riverside.

Whilst the practice’s primary principle is to rescue the great industrial landmarks of the past, Urban Splash is also a leading figure in new pioneering housing concepts. In 2016, Urban Splash, in collaboration with architecture firm ShedKM, launched their first modular houses which reimagined the concept of homes and neighbourhoods.

“We believe in the power of design. Through great design we can make sustainability second nature, build lasting communities, and most importantly create homes that people will love for generations” – Urban Splash

To find out more: https://www.urbansplash.co.uk/
Posted 2 Mar 2021 12:50
This project allows the opportunity to utilise and develop a variety of software skills. Through graphic representation and presentation software such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator to express design ideas, alongside architectural modelling and drawing programmes such as AutoCAD, Sketchup, Enscape and Rhino.
Posted 2 Mar 2021 12:53
Our proposal for the Manchester Blue Line will act as a central spine that connects, supports and enhances the 3 districts of Salford, Trafford and Manchester City centre.

We will be taking a contextualised approach through studying the several distinct areas that border the river and defining their social and programmatic needs in order to serve and enhance the lives of the community.

To deliver the proposal we will be exploring several key social design drivers including the importance of pedestrianised space, cycle paths, accessibility, landscaping and most importantly providing flexible yet purposeful public space. Through this exploration our proposal will serve to facilitate meaningful and productive interactions.
Posted 2 Mar 2021 12:55
We are thrilled to announce Tom Bloxham MBE, chairman and founder of award-winning regeneration company Urban Splash, will be presenting at MSA Live 2021.

Topic: An Introduction to Urban Splash - Tom Bloxham
Time: May 11, 2021 10:00 AM London

Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/95171888723
Meeting ID: 951 7188 8723

Urban Splash have had a crucial role in the development of Manchester City Centre from its days of ‘Madchester’ into the globally renowned Northern Powerhouse it is today.

Tom will be presenting an insightful background to Urban Splash and proposing the Blueline project - the strategic opening up and urban design of the River Irwell - which has the potential to reimagine Manchester City Centre as we know it. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn about one of the UK’s most innovative and pioneering urbanism practices and to gain unique insight into masterplanning the Blueline.

See you there!
Posted 9 May 2021 17:04
Today we have had the opportunity to hear from Edward Fox, who worked as the head of the Landscape Team for the Broadway Malyan Architects. Edward’s presentation on the Irwell River Park was about the history of the area and the previous attempts at delivering the project. The presentation was meant to inspire the students and represent a starting point for the Brainstorming activity that they would continue doing for the rest of day 1.
Posted 10 May 2021 16:51
In the first week we will be working to produce a package of design strategies that will define the theme and character of the Blue Line from start to finish at a masterplanning scale. The adoption of these strategies within the design will help the Manchester Blue Line to act as a coherent and recognisable orientation point. The team will work in smaller groups on their chosen/assigned strategy to produce the required information. The strategies will cover: signage and furnishing proposal, a general landscape strategy, transport connections and structure for typologies to use. By the end of the first week, we want to have produced a presentation of work for each strategy. Each strategy should have similar deliverables, depth of research and quality of design.
Posted 10 May 2021 17:54
A successful first day brainstorming all of our initial ideas for the Manchester Blue Line!
Today each team member worked on producing a sketch, diagram, collage or visual that represented their first impressions of the project which was later presented to, and discussed amongst the team.
Ideas generated coved landscaping, placemaking, planting, typologies, structures and much more.
This task helped us start the conversation for the project and gave us many exciting ideas to draw on for the rest of the week!
Posted 10 May 2021 22:46
Today we have had the opportunity to hear from Tom Bloxham MBE, chairperson and co-founder of award-winning regeneration company
Urban Splash. Tom started off with introducing the background of the company and their values and insights in place-making and moved on to introduce the Manchester Blue Line Project - the opening up of the Irwell River and the reimagining of Manchester city center. It was an inspiring talk which not only introduced students to the company's projects but also
motivated students to be bold and creative in doing whatever they wanted to do. There were endless possibilities and as Tom puts it - "Everything is possible."
Posted 11 May 2021 15:38
A productive second day for the Manchester Blue Line group! Today we split into 3 groups focusing on the different themes which will make Manchester Blue Line an enjoyable, fun, and safe place to be! From signage, landscaping, furniture, to art installation strategies, each group analysed a range of precedents and explored varying approach. With the ideas and work produced, the group can now holistically plan for the next steps and start to integrate the important themes altogether.
Posted 11 May 2021 19:52
On day three the Blue Line team began to develop a conceptual response to the brief within our smaller groups, focusing on landscaping, structure and signage which will contribute to a final masterplan by the end of the week. Taking into account precedent studies, we have created a series of images which consider how elements of the precedents can be incorporated within the varying conditions of the River Irwell.

Within the signage group we have begun to consider the significant surrounding node points in relation to the river and how we can make connections between these and the Blue Line. By identifying these points at an early stage it allows us to strategically place a series of entry/exit points which correspond with the river's surroundings. These points will provide a basis for where signage will need to be placed.

We are currently exploring the concept of signage acting as a beacon and providing a safety element to the river as this is an issue we aim to address through design. The signage allows pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings when walking below street level and also provides sufficient lighting at night time.
Posted 13 May 2021 13:10
The landscaping group have explored four aspects in designing the landscape and furniture along River Irwell: the use of different surface materials for different purposes, threshold treatments for adjacent functions, arrangement of varying pedestrian levels and the incorporation of urban furniture. The consideration of these key design aspects has allowed us to refine our landscaping strategy for the project which will be developed and formalized during the remainder of the week.
Posted 13 May 2021 14:20
Through the previous precedent analysis, each member of the structure group was tasked to produce a collage/image which explores how the user may interact with the proposed Blue Line. We have decided to incorporate the use of textiles as a response to Manchester's industrial past, from art installations with hanging elements promoting user interaction, hammocks made out of fabrics which encourages playful environments, to enclosed walkways with opaque fabrics ranging in different colours and saturation that provides a multi-sensory experience.
Posted 13 May 2021 15:00
Our third task was to produce a visual including site context to illustrate the atmosphere of the new structures proposed. The group developed a wide range of visuals where the different scenarios on site were addressed. From structures adjacent to the riverbank, to bridges going under archways and floating structures. Art installations were used to create intriguing environments that would improve user experience on site and increase pedestrian flow in the area next to the river. An example visualisation is shown above!
Posted 14 May 2021 11:55
Our group signage strategy consists of two styles of sign - intermediate markers and interactive wayfinding signs. We have incorporated light beacons in order to promote a sense of safety and place-orientation. The interactive style of signage, shown above, provides a dynamic accessibility to the evolving riverscape, creating a user interface in a growing digital world...
Posted 14 May 2021 12:17
Today the landscaping and furnishes group worked on producing a number of visuals that describe multiple aspects of the landscaping theme. These aspects include the incorporation of furniture, consideration of split levels and the thresholds between pathways. These pieces of work provide a visual representation of each aspect which will be applied to the masterplan and respond to the changing context to provide one consistent route. An example visualisation is shown above!
Posted 14 May 2021 12:20
What a week! A fantastic start to the Blueline project with full engagement from both our MArch and BA students. Despite the difficult circumstances working online this year, the team have been proactive and enthusiastic and we are proud of the work produced this first week. From interactive signage, modular structural systems and contextual urban landscaping, our overall masterplan strategies have been resolved and are ready in place for specific site analysis and prototype-implementation on Monday!
Posted 14 May 2021 16:55
Our week 1 masterplan has been produced by incorporating each group's concept design, combining aspects of structure, landscaping and signage. The diagrammatic plan outlines a basis for next weeks more site focused design, outlining potential opportunities and downfalls to each area.

The activity plan draws on the lighting strategy developed by the signage group as part of their week 1 work. Neon lights illuminate the Blue Line at night time, with signage acting as beacons. The plan highlights areas of activity along the river as well as connection routes to the city. These pockets of activity are spaces which could be developed further in week 2 as we begin to design on a more intricate scale.
Posted 14 May 2021 17:15
Great work from BA1 students Chennan Yang (top left) and Ashley Sze Xin Lim (bottom right). Chennan and Ashley worked in the landscaping sub-group in week 1 of the Blueline, exploring potential ideas for how landscaping could be applied to the masterplan of the River Irwell, including split levels, materiality and thresholds. Well done!
Posted 16 May 2021 14:40
BA2 students Ana Foianu (top) and Ana-Maria Baldovin (bottom) produced some excellent work this week as part of the structure and art sub-group of the Blueline Project. Ana and Ana-Maria worked on communicating the incorporation of structures, islands and art installations to the River Irwell through a dynamic range of visual collages. Great work!
Posted 16 May 2021 14:46
We have seen some brilliant work from BA1 students Zach Ng Soong Yan (top right) and Ashlie Ho (bottom left) within the signage and transport sub-group this week! Zach and Ashlie contributed towards producing a visual signage and transport system to ensure simple and easy wayfinding and movement through the Blueline Project along the River Irwell. Excellent stuff!
Posted 16 May 2021 14:51
Week 2 is going to be an exciting time for our team! These are the main activities which are going to take place this week. We are starting with a Photoshop workshop on Monday, and after that we will divide the whole team in subgroups to work on different areas of River Irwell in order to develop them in more detail. On Thursday we are going to present our process and design ideas to Urban Splash and Eddy Fox, the guest speakers we had in Week 1.
Posted 17 May 2021 10:32
This morning we have had a workshop presented by Dan, an MArch student within the Blue Line team. The tutorial introduced our BA students to the basics of SketchUp and Photoshop before demonstrating the workflow between these softwares to generate a render image which Dan presented to us at the end of week 1. As a group we can take these skills forward into week 2 to create some final visuals which really show off our project.
Posted 17 May 2021 12:09
This week we have divided the group into smaller groups to tackle 4 of the 7 sites suggested to us by our partner, Urbansplash. Each site has it's own unique character and set of issues we aim to tackle to create a more cohesive and safer walkway along the river. Building off the frameworks established in week 1 each group will develop a more detailed scheme in relation to their area of the river.
Posted 18 May 2021 13:05
Yesterday the group split into our smaller teams to conduct some brief site analysis before moving onto some precedent studies. We selected some new precedents alongside some of the work from the previous week to see what arrangements work best on our sites since they are all very different. We will use this work moving forward to build on last weeks established frameworks and develop a more detailed masterplan.
Posted 18 May 2021 14:27
Today the Blue Line team focused on visualizing our programme, creating a series of images which demonstrate how the themes from week 1 and our site specific design for week 2 come together to create a cohesive scheme.

The group working on site B are looking at incorporating water sporting activities into their site and the river as a whole to draw people to areas they may have not explored before via boat. They are also looking to include some wetlands style greenery and pavilions to provide some biodiversity to their outdoor seating spaces.
Posted 18 May 2021 17:23
The site E team are taking a contextual approach to design, looking to bring the existing bars and cafes in the area down to water level, providing some outdoor seating for their guests as well as incorporating some greenery to a well built up area. The site has no existing walkways so building out onto the water has been a focus for the group in order to provide an adequate route for pedestrians and cyclists. The group are also addressing a series of bridges across the site, exploring how they can be occupied and become a means of attracting people to the area.
Posted 18 May 2021 17:27
The team at site F are looking to expand on the existing sporting facilities within the area, providing the addition of an outdoor gym space, tennis courts and play area for the local community. The new additions will sit alongside the river creating 2 key activity zones which will bring people to the area. Further down the river the group are also incorporating an outdoor exhibition space nearby a local gallery where local artists can display their work.
Posted 18 May 2021 17:31
The group from site C have begun exploring the use of levels within the river, creating connections between the water and the roadside above. The image created also looks at creating links between the Manchester and Salford sides of the river to bring some unity to the two areas and better the connections between the two.
Posted 19 May 2021 13:01
Yesterday the Blue Line team began to develop their site strategies incorporating elements of analyzed precedents and the frameworks from week 1. Each group has produced a programmatic diagram from which we are starting to develop our site plans.
Posted 19 May 2021 14:29
Today is the big presentation day! We are presenting our two week project work back to Tom Bloxham and Oliver Clarke of Urban Splash, Louise Wyman of Manchester City Council and Edward Fox of Manchester School of Architecture. This morning we shall be finalising and running through the presentation - practising our oratory skills. Throughout the week we have collated this BLUELINE TEAM photo collage - it is fantastic to see everyone's lovely faces altogether!
Posted 20 May 2021 10:22
It's Presentation Day!

Today we are delighted to have Tom Bloxham, Oliver Clarke from Urban Splash, Louise Wyman from Manchester City Council and Edward Fox from MSA joining us in our presentation on the work and ideas we
developed for the Blueline during this intensive two-weeks. We are glad to have received some very positive feedbacks and valuable suggestions from our guests. It was an insightful conversation. Good work everyone!
Posted 20 May 2021 18:09
And just like that we have come to the end of MSA Live 2021! The past two weeks have flown by and the Blueline team have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. We would like to say a big thank you to our BA1 and BA2 students who have shown commitment throughout the project and produced some excellent work which we hope to see manifested within the city in the near future! We must also extend our thanks to all our guests who have contributed their time to us over the two weeks and those who have worked with us behind the scenes.

As a final task the BA students were asked to produce an image in response to the question, 'what has this project meant to you?' They have produced some lovely visuals which conclude the project nicely.
Posted 21 May 2021 13:59