‘Plant Factory’ concept art. Credit: Karsan Karavadra and Stella Yang
Two students have won a nationwide competition to design part of the much-anticipated Bridgewater Garden in Salford.
Once complete, the garden will form part of a £30 million Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) project currently under construction in Worsley.
The winners, Manchester Metropolitan University students Stella Yang and Karsan Karavadra, call their design ‘The Plant Factory’ and it is intended as a learning opportunity for children.
Karsan, 28, explained that the concept is based on the idea of plants working as machines to produce what they need from basic ingredients.
He said: “We wanted to show how plants can adapt themselves for different conditions, use photosynthesis and create fruit.
“We were aiming it towards primary school children and up. We want to get all ages of horticulturalists involved.”
The theme was carefully chosen to fit with Salford’s proud industrial heritage.
Karsan’s favourite element of the plan is the eco-tower which will house bird and bat boxes.
He said: “It’s going to be a fun, interactive chimney with loads of wildlife and it should be a really nice addition to the garden.”
At 154 acres, the Bridgewater Garden is thought to be the largest project of it’s kind in Europe.
The site was once home to Worsley New Hall, a stately home just off Leigh road, which was demolished in the 1940s.
The grounds have mostly remained derelict since then but will reopen in their new form next year.
Up to 7,000 local schoolchildren will visit Bridgewater each year and ‘The Plant Factory’ will be central to that experience.
Karsan and Stella began working on the project while studying for a Masters in Landscape architecture at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Eddie Fox, the programme leader at the university, said: “We were very pleased at the outcome and are hoping to follow up this positive experience with further collaborations in the future.”
It is just the fifth garden project undertaken by the RHS, the organisation behind the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show.
Marcus Chilton-Jones, Curator, RHS Garden Bridgewater said: “We were astounded by the quality of entries to the competition.
“We chose this one because it is flexible, playful, engaging and it fits well with the national curriculum.
“It also links plants with local industrial heritage and reflects the different microclimates we have on site.”
The overall design was created by landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith.
He worked with Manchester-based architects Hodder and Partners on the new Welcome Building and the restoration of existing buildings.