During the 19th and early 20th century Lower Broughton was a thriving industrial town but has since become just another residential suburb of Manchester. With industry comes a strong sense of community and identity, which has diminished following the loss of the industrial heritage.
The first stage of the proposal is to pedestrianise the main road bridge from Manchester into the town. This will renew the identity of the area and connect the chosen site with the Victoria Theatre. This is the only building remaining from the town’s industrial period, and therefore a reminder of the history of the area.
The theatre will be renovated back to it’s original state, acting as a reminder of the town’s history. Rather than reverting to a traditional touring theatre, the auditorium will become a space for community events such as markets or performances It will also act as an exhibition space for the textile production process, with the machinery creating the performance.
The main proposal will be a textile manufacturing facility, reintroducing industry to the town. This will incorporate spaces for residents to gather as well as participating in the manufacturing process, renewing a sense of community. Whilst a traditional factory tour is very much like a theatre performance, being a ‘look but don’t touch’ affair, the journey through my proposal will be very different, encouraging visitors to get hands-on and engage with the process of textile manufacture. The machinery within the theatre and the community in the manufacturing facility will work together as the warp and weft to create a seamless production process. Fabric representing Salford will create a journey across the bridge, linking the two interventions.
Externally, the form of the design is reminiscent of the low, pitched factories that used to inhabit the site. Internally however, the structured, industrial style will be contrasted with flowing waterways and varying levels, representing the fluidity of fabric, and weaving a journey through the space.