Landscape Interventions, Heaton Norris Project

A series of landscape ‘elements’, sculptural in quality, adorn an underused park on the outskirts of Manchester. Inspired by the sculptures of Isamu Noguchi and the architecture of Cedric Price, the intervention poetically inspires the occurrence of new events, chance encounters in the landscape, endowing the place with a sense of belonging and an atmosphere of welcome.

The ‘elements’ trace the paths of park users, leaving a ghost-like trail around the park. The paths encourage the meeting of glances, discussions and minds to enrich the life therein.

Robust yet elegant, the trails weave through the grass out onto the path and back into the grass on the other side. Blocks rise up and down, allowing places for relaxation, sunbathing and sitting. Slopes leading up to the Bowling Green become adorned with a metal sheeting recessed into the slope – acting as a mirror reflecting the sun around the park or a slide for play.

Practicality is inbuilt – with comments from park users incorporated to create a clean and safe place. Lighting becomes an intrinsic part of the floor level element, guiding the key paths through the park to improve safety for walkers at night. Bins at regular intervals encourage cleanliness.

The ambiguity of the elements enables a diversity of situations to occur; perhaps two lovers meet, entwined in a clandestine affair or dog walkers stroll together along habitual paths, stopping at intervals to chat. In the future the area becomes, perhaps, more densely populated with young families and the area becomes a playground for children rather than dogs and their owners. The beauty lies in its ambiguity.

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