Manchester’s lost horizons: the futuristic city that never was

Manchester's lost horizons: the futuristic city that never was
‘Good intentions’: 1963 plans for an Education Precinct with aerial walkways / © Drawing by Peter Wright

Amid the postwar rubble, designers dreamed of a gleaming powerhouse of moving platforms, monorails and highways in the sky. But austerity took their vision away – handing the future to ‘gangster development’

A handful of people are staring into a future that never came to pass. Holding gaming handsets connected to a row of five Apple Macs, they wander virtually through Manchester’s dazzling “entertainment district”, to an area close to its main railway station where two elevated highways carry speeding traffic over hulking modernist buildings.

The overall effect is somewhere between Grand Theft Auto and Minecraft, with one key twist: back in the 1960s, these gleaming environments were not the stuff of fantasy, but everyday urban planning. Over the next 10 days, Manchester will be exploring its past in the annual Histories festival, taking in everything from the local wanderings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to the lingering aftershocks of the Sex Pistols’ legendary 1976 gigs in the city.

It all attests to the richness of Mancunian history – but the exhibition I am watching take shape might be the most fascinating thing of all. Making Post-war Manchester: Visions of an Unmade City brings to life long-forgotten plans for the city’s reinvention: a riot of moving pavements, monorails and rooftop heliports. […]

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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