Creating an elevated park in the heart of historic Manchester

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United Kingdom





Castlefield Viaduct has a long-standing history in the city of Manchester. The structure – a 330m long Grade II listed viaduct – was previously used to carry heavy rail traffic in and out of Manchester’s Great Northern Warehouse, but despite regular maintenance, has stood unused since 1969.

Arup has been working with the National Trust to transform the viaduct into a free access urban park and meeting place in central Manchester for the benefit of the local community. The initial phase, a year-long pilot, opened in June 2022, creating a temporary urban park covering half of the viaduct’s deck.

As part of the pilot project, we provided specialist advice across structural and mechanical, electrical, public health (MEP) to inform the design for temporary structures and ensure compliance with building regulations and planning policy. Our multidisciplinary team created a fire strategy to satisfy life safety, property protection and business continuity objectives of the project stakeholders, and a lighting scheme to prevent impacts on the local community.

The pilot has sought input from local audiences and partners enabling the National Trust to understand the main scheme’s ultimate look and feel. We are leading a feasibility study to explore masterplan opportunities, develop a conservation strategy and to test the business case as part of the second phase of the project.

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