Reimagining Mann Island Atrium

We are so grateful for the support of @RIBA North for hosting our Saturday design sessions in their gallery over the past year. It’s an inspiring environment for the next generation of place-makers, and we’ve felt very at home there.

It felt fitting to use the atrium space as a focus of one of our design sessions, to think about how this space could be activated, repurposed and connected with its surroundings. You can see our slideshow of designs below.

We had a vibrant mix which thoughtfully considered how to maximise the use of the space by connecting with the local businesses in the building, and other businesses and members of the public who might visit the area.

Ideas included a trail of Superlambanana’s to encourage families to the space, greenery to soften the space, ambitious architectural structures outside the building to attract people over from the crossing, interactive chalk flooring to encourage creativity and colour, and an outdoor play space for both adults and children to animate the surrounding area.

Well done to all the Academy participants who attended this session and collaboratively made their ideas come to life, and thank you to RIBA for hosting us and fueling the idea for this session!

Christ Church and the Community

We worked with Anette from Christ Church on Linnet Lane, to develop a session for our Academy students to design structures and spaces that would open up use of the Church to the wider community. Their aims were to:

  • Appeal to the wider community of Toxteth, not purely faith-based groups
  • Provide opportunities for activities and events
  • Connect visitors and communities with the heritage of the building
  • Create opportunities to generate income

The four groups came up with a variety of ideas. From family focused childcare provision, multi-functional craft huts, sport come music venues and spaces to help the vulnerable.

We’ve found that our Academy participants throughly enjoy the challenges and constraints that come with repurposing heritage sites, and this was no exception. Their experience of designing for Lark Lane in a previous workshop gave them first hand experience of the challenges of keeping warm in the huge scale of the church, and the opportunities of allowing people to appreciate its architecture.

Lark Lane with Prosocial

Prosocial Place and PLACED delivered a workshop on Saturday 14th December 2019 with a group of young people from the PLACED Academy to explore what approach they would take to improve Lark Lane.

Through the session, we wanted to explore if there were differences in how the males and females in the group approached the project. This feeds into a wider study which Prosocial and PLACED are developing, exploring gender differences in approaches to design in the built environment. 

The session included a guided walk through the area, reflecting on their feelings about Lark Lane individually and through discussion and working in groups to develop their ideas through drawing and modelling.

The groups took a variety of approaches to respond to Lark Lane, including green routes, pedestrianised roads, community centres and better car parking.

Our analysis in brief is that the female groups were largely more focused on the broader sense of the place, ideas and design concepts both during the site analysis and through the design process. In contrast, the male groups were focused on detail and individual aspects of design. However, there was an awareness of the local community and who uses the area from both males and females in the group, which may have been influenced through our community-focussed PLACED workshops throughout the Academy programme.

Many thanks to Graham and Rhiannon from Prosocial Place for devising and facilitating this session with us.