Bradford Civic Society is welcoming back live events with a new exhibition dedicated to architecture concepts for the city centre.
In Bradford: Reimagined, the regeneration of Bradford’s ‘Top of Town’ area is reimagined in more than 250 designs by architecture students from around the world. The innovative drawings – of squares, communal gardens, roof terraces and work and cultural spaces – explore a new future for the city centre area, where streets of listed buildings are blighted by empty units.
The designs are showcased from Saturday 10 July at an exhibition at Bradford’s City of Culture hub in City Park until the end of August. It’s the culmination of a year-long project involving over 70 students invited to explore regeneration opportunities for this urban heritage area. It is hoped that some ideas will be used by planners and developers.
Bradford: Reimagined is the brainchild of Bradford Civic Society’s Kieran Thompson, who is nearing the end of training to be an architect with IBI Group. Having graduated from Manchester School of Architecture, jointly administered by the University of Manchester and the Manchester Metropolitan University, Keiran commissioned students to look at the potential of Bradford’s ‘Top of Town’ area, setting a new standard for city centre living. He received £7,680 from the Architectural Heritage Fund – the first time it has awarded money for a concept design-only project – and the scheme is supported by the ‘Transforming Places Through Heritage’ programme, helping charities and social enterprises restore and bring new uses to historic high street buildings.
Said Kieran: “My family are from Bradford and I’ve long been fascinated by the city, its architecture and potential. The City Village designation offers a fantastic opportunity to lead the way in 21st century city centre living. We do however need to challenge traditional design and procurement approaches and become more people-led.
“We asked the students to question things like the lack of green public realm and look at why so many people moved out of cities during the last year and how they could be transformed to become vibrant and child friendly. The concepts are quite ground-breaking, I hope some will be taken into consideration by city planners and developers going forward.”
It was while researching his dissertation that Kieran developed an interest in Bradford’s potential. He joined Bradford Civic Society and carried out interviews with key stakeholders in the city. His research asked the question: “Would the city’s future success be led from the top down or bottom up?” He concluded that a combination of both will lead to it reaching its potential.
Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “It’s great to see so much passion for our city and the ‘Top of Town’. I look forward to seeing these exciting ideas of ways in which the area could be transformed.”
Bradford Civic Society vice chair Alan Hall said: “This exhibition looks to the future, imagining how Bradford might respond to challenges facing all city centres. The students have done some terrific, thoughtful work.”
Visit Bradford: Reimagined, FREE, at Bradford 2025 Hub, City Park from Saturday 10 July. Covid safety measures must be adhered to – including the wearing of face coverings (unless exempt) and signing in on arrival.