Part 1- Dominic Walker

Delirious Manchester and The Institute of Urban Broadcasting

“Nothing old is ever reborn but neither does it totally disappear. And that which has once been born, will always reappear in a new form” Alvar Aalto.

The project proposes a new TV Studio and TV Show to replace Granada TV, which has now moved to Salford Quays. The new TV studio; The Institute of Urban Broadcasting, aims to reconnect a changing Manchester with its local population, by allowing them to control the TV shows soap storyline.



The project began with an analysis of Post-industrial Manchester. A critique was formed of current public spaces and the overdevelopment of certain ‘neighbourhoods’. A focus was made on the Spinningfield’s district and its apotheosis of romantic marketing strategies. “Meet me here” is the slogan branded along with a hand-written kiss on the sides of bins and ashtrays in a privatised and policed ‘public realm’. The statement here is ironical, an afterthought of the creation of a neighbourhood without character.

Alongside this study of public space, I approached the project with a personal stance in order to explore the metaphysical notion of what Manchester is to myself, through a study of memory of place. To me, Manchester has always been the very image captured in the kitsch back streets of Coronation St.

It was concluded that the ‘Mancunion’, both in spirit and physical body, has been displaced from the city; in a roundabout way, there is no space for Audrey to hang her washing. What followed was therefore a thesis that attempted to address these issues within Manchester, as well as to discuss relationships between filmmaking and architecture.

The Institute of Urban Broadcasting aims to question issues of technology and culture, and how the city responds to these conditions. A TV Studio is proposed, which addresses this thesis with interlocking public and private facilities, that are centred around a space which houses a large-scale model of the city. The public engages with a changing Manchester by convening once monthly to discuss their opinions in the discussion forum of the TV Studio. They then progress into the model room, where they physically construct their proposed alterations to the city and transplant them onto the city model. The TV Studio must then adapt and alter its street scale storyline of the soap it broadcasts in accordance with the public’s alterations to the large-scale city model.

An irrational twist in the dictation of the cityscape is here defined; the public now control the plot of the entire city of Manchester, while the authoritarian body (here the TV Studio, as opposed to city planners and developers) merely controls the single street level storyline of the TV show which is broadcast. The large-scale changes made by the public are broadcast through the stories of a group of neighbours on a single street, much like Coronation St.

In this respect it is hoped that new ideas and public opinions about the City of Manchester, and Cities in general, may be broadcast. The TV Studio thus becomes a representative of the City and its Opinions. At the same time, while the TV Studio does not physically alter the planning of the city beyond its plot, the aim is to re-kindle the public’s care and interest in the built form of the city.

The long section demonstrates the key spaces within the studio and their programmatic relationships. Within the cylinder, the entrance space, positioned around a central sunken discussion forum, sits below the suspended green screen studio. The studio is encased in stainless steel, and is designed at first to be read as a monolithic, pure object – a progressive symbol of technology. Once directly below the green screen the false shell of purity is revealed, as the frame and ventilation systems for the green screen are exposed. The green screen is revealed at this point as a section of the pure internal GRP green interior pierces out of the false shell. A final metaphor is presented at the apogee of the cylinder, where the green screen breaks through the thermal envelope of the building. At this point, stainless steel is replaced with mild steel and allowed to slowly rust. The condition between pure and tarnished steel is an ontological prompt unto the contemporary obsession and reliance on technology, and its ultimate potential instability.



The land to the East of the TV Studio, currently a car park, follows a staged development, until Ian Simpson’s St. John’s Master plan begins. Initially, the car park becomes a congested film set, in order to film the pilot series of the TV show. Caravans gather along the edges of the river, and a festival of construction ensues, as giant props for the show are constructed before a curved green screen wall, which demarcates the beginning of the TV studio (a reference to Morphosis’ MTV Studios project). Once filming has ended, the curved green screen wall becomes an outdoor amphitheatre; for film screenings and events, while the car park is allowed to grow into a dense field, until the St. John’s Master plan begins.

The TV Studio represents itself as a civic building, with reference to symbolism and pop culture as described in Venturi’s Learning From Las Vegas. The drawing style attempts to make intrinsic references to architects of the past, in appraisal and critique of their proposals, from the cast symbology of Le Corbusier (in the abstract sun) to the technological drawings of Cedric Price and Archigram. Reference is made to the postmodern condition through the artificial taxi driver in the 1990 film Total Recall.

The TV Studio compounds its situation on the border; the border of the City, the border between technology and heritage, and the border of the real and the illusory.

“Nothing disappears completely … In space, what came earlier continues to underpin what follows … Pre-existing space underpins not only durable spatial arrangements, but also representational spaces and their attendant imagery and mythic narratives.” Henri Lefebvre, Production of Space.



Bond Bryan Architects

West Yorkshire Society of Architects

Part of Lighting Exchanges from Deltalight

Leave a Reply