New Landscaping design facing Oxford Road

29 06 2014

New Landscaping design facing Oxford Road

With only four months to go before the Whitworth reopens its doors, life for everyone at the Gallery has ramped up a notch or two. Last week saw the arrival on site of our Phase II contractors, Manchester & Cheshire Construction Co Ltd., who will be joining ISG on completing the overall building project for the new Whitworth. The second phase of the project focuses on the original frontage of the Gallery facing onto Oxford Road which will be completely re-landscaped, combining an architectural design from MUMA, a new lighting scheme by engineers, Buro Happold, garden design by Sarah Price and the installation of existing sculptures and new commissions onto a sculpture terrace.

In anticipation of the Oxford Road Corridor scheme, which will see private vehicles removed from a length of Oxford Road, including directly in front of the Whitworth, there will be no vehicle access into the Gallery grounds. Instead, visitors arriving by car or coach will approach the building from Denmark Road, while anyone using public transport, cycle or on foot will be able to use either the new Parkside entrance or the redeveloped entrance as shown in the architect’s drawing above.

All the existing gates will remain, but the current road (due to be dug up over the next few weeks) will be replaced by a gently sloping stone and bound gravel route, and reconfigured step-free entrance, providing level access from the outer pavements all the way into the building. There will be a terrace area for events, gatherings and the display of artworks; all the existing trees will be retained and complemented with new formal planting, lawns, seating and soft landscaping.

Tibetan Cherry

Tibetan Cherry

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 21.21.00
The soft landscaping designs by Sarah Price will include loosely clipped ‘cloud’ hedging to create a low rolling structure, formal trees such as Tibetan Cherry providing interest with decorative flowers, leaves and bark, and year round colour through flowering bulbs.

'Cloud' hedging and flowering bulbs

‘Cloud’ hedging and flowering bulbs

So far, much of the work on site has been at the back of the original building, but there will be great changes to the site facing Oxford Road over the next few months. This final part of the scheme is being funded mostly by Arts Council England and will link both sides of the Gallery and the surrounding Whitworth Park through the landscaping and lighting designs – watch this space.

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Using a painter’s palette to create a beautiful wilderness with Sarah Price

10 10 2013

Using a painter’s palette to create a beautiful wilderness with Sarah Price

Today’s blog post is from Denise Bowler, the Gallery’s Secondary & Post-16 Coordinator, hot off the press following an inspiring day spent with Sarah Price (see previous blog posts about her work and plans for the Gallery).

The Learning & Engagement team at the Whitworth met with the garden designer Sarah Price and we were privy to a peek at the proposed plans for the Gallery’s Art Garden, Gallery Orchard and the landscaping of the Oxford Road entrance to the gallery – it all looks incredibly exciting. The designs respond perfectly to the spaces and make a brilliant connection to the Gallery in the Park blurring the boundaries between gallery, park and urban meadow.

Sarah Price is well known for her Olympic Gardens and Chelsea gold medal winning, naturalistic planting scheme both in 2012, as well as numerous other interesting projects in public sites. Having trained as a visual artist, Sarah draws on a painterly approach to her designs, showing sensitivity to the location and history of a site, as well as the climate and ecology of the surroundings.

It was really useful for the Learning team to gain an understanding of Sarah’s ideas and approach. We were all really inspired by her playful designs, which invite the public to interact with and be part of that landscape. This timely opportunity to meet gave the team scope to further shape the proposals to suit all the Gallery’s visitors. Sarah was very interested to hear more about all their specific interests and ways in which we may use the green spaces leading to the park.

BW Hedge balls

Planting will appear soft, natural and organic with layers at differing heights. Formed from ‘transparent’ grasses and perennials, loosely clipped, evergreen hedging like rolling, distorted ‘clouds’ and contrasting tones of grasses and seedheads at lower levels of the planting scheme.

Orchard Garden2

Potential fruit trees for the orchard may be sloe berries and damsons, with the possibility of introducing some damson trees into the hedging in the park too. Other ideas for the park include undulating mounds using spoils from the excavation of the gallery and lawn clipping to create line and texture.

It will be interesting to see ideas blossom in response to these new outside spaces. So do keep reading to find out more about the changing landscapes.