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Crown Square reopens after Allied London’s redesign brings Europe to Manchester

The winning design of the civic square by Arriola & Fiol uses The Oast House as a point of departure, marrying the old with the contemporary.

Crown Square in Manchester’s Spinningfields estate has reopened today after undergoing a transformational redesign by Allied London, the award-winning UK property developer in partnership with Arriola & Fiol, a Spanish architectural firm renowned for landscape architecture. The new design elevates Crown Square and The Oast House’s public realm in to a piece of authentic landscape architecture that is both commercial and civic in its treatment.

Allied London launched an invite-only architectural competition in the summer of 2016 to find a new design for the civic square with a brief to “create the best beer garden in the world”. Of the five architectural firms invited to enter, Arriola & Fiol won the competition with their design that focused on building a story around the historic Oast House as a point of departure, creating a beautiful transition to the modernity of the Spinningfields estate. Outdoor structures with roofs of differing materials and textures have been carefully positioned at different angles to create an increasingly contemporary design as the eye moves away from The Oast House towards Spinningfields.

Copyright: Daniel Hopkinson

Copyright: Daniel Hopkinson

The resulting design of Crown Square is both poetic and practical, providing a point of relief and tranquillity in contrast to the commercial environment of Spinningfields. New features of the square include a permanent stage, an outdoor bar area and several covered areas where consumers can enjoy a beverage while taking in their surroundings. The design takes inspiration from European plazas where socialising and relaxing outdoors forms a central part of everyday community life. The outdoor stage will feature a lively entertainment programme across the year, helping to recreate this European social culture in Manchester.

Of the project, Allied London’s Design Director, David Drews said: “It offered a rare opportunity to use landscape architecture to showcase the relationship between The Oast House and Spinningfields estate, which is one that focuses on a careful juxtaposition of marrying a heritage style space with the modern, clean lines of Spinningfields. The resulting design is pleasing on the eye and creates a place for our community to interact and socialise outdoors, which is a very European notion.

He added: “Arriola & Fiol’s winning design has been brought to life as part of our project. It’s the first time Allied London has worked with a Spanish architectural firm and it’s something we’d like to do again, because of their fresh approach to design and years of experience.”

The Oast House bar, which is owned by New World Trading company, has also fully reopened after being refurbished throughout as part of its transformation from a temporary pop-up space to a permanent feature in the heart of the Spinningfields estate. As part of the reopening, a new exciting food menu has been introduced along with a creative cocktail menu and a lively events programme.

Image copyright: Daniel Hopkinson

Image copyright: Daniel Hopkinson

“This is such an exciting time for us at The Oast House and we look forward to welcoming the people of Manchester back to our iconic venue. We hope to see our regulars return and welcome new faces in equal measure. We’re delighted to be a permanent part of the thriving hub that is Spinningfields, and look forward to serving customers from far and near as well as hosting some exciting events in the coming months.” – Adam Wilde, Senior General Manager, New World Trading Company, owners of The Oast House.

Speaking of their design, Andrea Arriola from Arriola & Fiol said: “The square is a place with multiple spaces within it. Our design inspiration came from the elements as a way to connect these spaces and showcase the journey of departure from the historic Oast House to the modern Spinningfields estate. The design for the side of the square where the Oast House sits focuses on the element of fire and uses the expression of energy and warmth to encourage people to gather and socialise in this space.”

She added: “The pergola design symbolises the element of air, fostering co-existence and communication and uses a reinterpretation of traditional oast house Peg tiles for its roof. The element of earth is portrayed via the steps used to create the amphitheatre and offers security and stability to those who sit there. Finally, tectonic pavilions provide geometrical axes that emerge overhead and act as an extension of The Oast House kitchen, two new bars and a stage for musical concerts and performances.”

The Crown Square project took six months to complete and the new square will become an important space for relaxation within the Spinningfields estate. Spinningfields is one of Europe’s most successful urban regeneration projects, where Allied London created an entire new quarter in the city. It is the leading regional business quarter in the UK and the centre of the Manchester corporate community.

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