The project brief required improved access to the Deansgate-Castlefield tram stop and the introduction of a new track and platform arrangement to improve passenger capacity.
The design goes beyond these functional requirements and aims to promote Deansgate Castlefield as an interchange which improves the perception of tram travel and the sense of arrival in the city. It creates a unique, distinctive and enjoyable Metrolink stop, which takes advantage of the site’s southern aspect and elevated position above a listed railway viaduct to create a stop within a park environment, an ‘oasis’ in the city.
This concept has informed all design decisions and been key to the project’s place making approach. Elements such as the new living wall, the use of natural materials such as green Cumbrian slate and Cor-Ten, the Bespoke sedum tray inserts which sit between the rails, creating a living carpet across the tracks and the introduction of significant quantities of new planting all contribute to the creation of a successful new place, which is well connected into the street level environment, safe, well-used and well-loved by the travelling public.
A new living wall incorporating a stair and lift brings the park down to street level and a new stair and footbridge crosses the Rochdale Canal. Removing a 1980s enclosure transforms the rail station footbridge into an open passageway with views and connections to Deansgate-Castlefield and the city.
Collective feedback from representatives with disabilities, particularly the Disability Design Reference Group, informed design decisions, from the nature and location of the new accesses from street level and the height of stop equipment, to translucency levels of the fritted leaf pattern in the scalloped platform canopies and the impact of the shadows these cast would have on the partially sighted.