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
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 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
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
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