Noma fisheye 7 hdr satThe heart of Manchester’s NOMA regeneration district

A new square opened up in the heart of central Manchester on 3rd December 2015, bringing light, space, new cross routes and a public gathering space to previously neglected streets and closed off walkways near Victoria Station.

Sadler’s Yard has been designed by local landscape architects Planit-IE and forms the heart of the city’s £800m NOMA redevelopment area; the largest regeneration scheme in the North West; a joint venture by Hermes Real Estate, Manchester City Council and The Co-operative Group.

The ground level has been lowered by 3m and the newly exposed basements of surrounding buildings will now house shops, cafes and restaurants, while the square itself can be used for events. Bespoke street furniture is intended to give an artisanal feel, reflecting the creative communities that it is hoped will be attracted to the area.

Planit-ie worked with architectural and sculptural metalworker Chris Brammall who made the metalwork street furniture with bronze inlays, blackened steel cycle stands, handrails with integral lighting and bollards with verdigris insets. His steel-and-bronze lighting totems are beacons for the site, playing off a delicate abstract leaf-vein pattern against the height and strength of the columns. Complex diamond-pattern inlaid natural stone paving, created by Hardscape, harks back to the marble floors of the grand banks that once traded from the historic buildings.

Elsewhere, occasional artscape motifs from the buildings’ facades and former uses have been picked up in the street furniture, signage, lighting, and branding by United Creatives. The signage graphics were produced by isgroup. David Pringle, director of NOMA at the Co-operative Group, said: ‘Sadler’s Yard is the public heart of the NOMA neighbourhood and will sit at the centre of a range of beautifully restored heritage buildings and newly created office, retail and leisure space. It will change the way people move around this part of the city centre – opening up the streets and forming a gateway through NOMA. It’s a new city space with an old city feel, and we hope the people of Manchester enjoy spending time here.’

The contractor works were undertaken by the Casey Group and funding came from the European Regional Development Fund.

The square is named after James Sadler, a balloonist, chemist and pastry chef who made the first manned balloon flight from Manchester in 1785, chosen following a social media campaign asking for suggestions from members of the public.