A unique proposal for the revitalization of Manchester University around the Piccadilly Station quarter.
The Pottery – 660 Student Homes inspired by the magic of Harry Potter.
The recent convention in architecture for the delivery of mass student housing appears to be low cost modernism with little or no character. This can never be inspirational for students dreaming of good education and careers in high academic fields of science. They need better. This is it.
Inspired by the imagery from the fictional world of Harry Potter, the Pottery is a huddle of tightly packed Victorian-style homes. Several floors with high ceilings, sash windows and tight corners, nooks and crannies that suggest a magic spell around each corner.
This is a place to invoke wonder and imagination and stimulate young minds to be the best they possibly can. This is world lifted up and above the modern world, where a corner of a different reality has been invoked from another.
The Cheshire Cat watches over all the proceedings.
As with the rest of the ID Manchester site the structure of the Pottery is intended to stand for a minimum of two centuries, up to an ideal of five centuries or more.
A combination of traditional brick and heavy timber with a subtle application of cobblestone and discreet concrete form the architecture of the Pottery. Traditional, non-modernist, styles provide a healthier and more magical environment, with tight corners and packed street providing a snug atmosphere away from the busy bustle of the modern city.
Each building is well lit and airy with high ceilings and equally high sash windows to make every room open to the outside and the community on and of the street, with ample opportunity to open windows wide, lean out and talk with friends and neighbours below and around. There is no suffocating enclosure as found in modern structures with sealed windows that trap you isolated and alone behind glass, disconnected from the world.
Though the roof retains the traditional style of steeply-pitched slate, subtle elements may add a series of light-capture reflectors to direct daylight into the halls and stairways, while the central section of the roof has a broad, multi-glazed skylight to illuminate the upper stairway and lead down into the lower levels. Solar panels and other small, discreet wind turbine features may create modest amounts of electrical power during daylight and higher winds.
Interior style is a mixture of exposed brickwork, heavy interlocking timber with a discreet underlying reinforcement of concrete and a touch of Industrial Revolution ironwork in keeping with the old spirit of Manchester.
Full fireproofing is established through use of suitable coatings for the exposed timbers and other simple means to be implemented where needed. No flammable cladding is added that might result in deaths through fire.
Brass and heavy ironworks are in prominent use throughout.
Security is maintained by “magical” CCTV at every hallway and corner inside and out to reassure parents that their children are safe while away from home for the first times in their lives.
In one rear corner of the Pottery is a clock tower, a twisted column of brick, iron and concrete that will awake the students with their Call To Studies, and act as local 5G telephone hub to talk to mummy day at night. From here is strung a zipwire to a post on the opposite side of the block overlooking and leading down into the park below. This provides one high intensity release for all those pent-up energies of youth and a unique attraction to bring others into what may become a thriving student village in the heart of the city.
The Pottery is built on top of a block of floors based on brick and stone archways to invoke the memory of Industrial Revolution and the future Revolutions of Science and Engineering to-come. Here other workshops, retail and laboratory spaces will encourage new enterprise development, stimulate new innovation and new work in a wide range of scientific and engineering fields to give the most active and enthusiastic students their first step into the adult world beyond their studies and into new industrial revolutions.
And yes, there is a Diagonal Alley.
Environmental concerns are not discussed here in any depth due to the exceptionally intense and aggressive debate in the public and political arenas.
Discreet environmental efficiency comes through insulated surfaces combined with use of heavy timbers to absorb carbon and contribute to the modern demands to save the word from the global apocalypse of climate catastrophe nightmare horror doom exponents, and friends*.
(*Harry Potter professionals/scientists would call these the Dementors.)