Our competition to design the cast-iron drain covers for Albert Square is now closed, but we'll be updating these pages once the judging has taken place.
Revisiting the designs for the Square
Plans to protect and enhance the Grade I-listed Town Hall, and its setting within the city, include work that will make Manchester’s Albert Square one of the finest civic spaces in Europe.
Work began in October 2021.
The roads on two sides of the square had been closed to traffic and the additional space incorporated as part of the pedestrianised public space. Only the Princess Street side will remain open to traffic and the Metrolink tram.
This first phase, focused on the area outside the existing square, was brought forward – two years ahead of the original schedule – to minimise the impact on surrounding businesses, allowing them to benefit from the new traffic-free environment more quickly and support their recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The rest of the square, which is currently behind hoardings and housing the site compound, will be completed in time for the reopening of the building.
Open our Albert Square - the plans album on Flickr.com to see how work is progressing
The aim is to create a bigger and more flexible events space but also a more pleasant environment and cleaner air all year round. The reconfigured square, incorporating the newly-pedestrianised spaces, will be around 20 per cent bigger than it was before and will also enhance safety (removing the need for the previous concrete barrier), open up views, reduce clutter, improve lighting, make the building more accessible and provide better infrastructure for events. The square will be resurfaced with granite sett paving - removing trip hazards while referencing the traditional cobbles - with yorkstone paving providing a route around it.