HCGC Live Project

Project date
  • Architecture
North West England
Hulme Community Garden Centre
Associated team members
Associated documents

The shade house is a collaborative project for Hulme Community Garden Centre who are a not for profit organisation. It is designed and built by the Live Project team from Sheffield School of Architecture with help of the HCGC volunteers in the space of 5 weeks.


The project was mentored by John Sampson as part of his ongoing teaching role with Sheffield University.

The project is the first stage of a large redevelopment of the neighbouring car park which will eventually double the Garden Centre’s site.

The structure provides shade for plants in the extended sales area, and creates a link with the existing community gardens. It is built using reclaimed materials and waste products found in the area as continuing works are carried out in the car park.


The curved timber structure is situated adjacent to the main road and it attracts attention to the garden centre by contrasting with the dense hedge-line of the existing Garden Centre. Views through the structure are encouraged through the permeable bamboo cladding whilst providing shady conditions for the plants.


The gabions encourage biodiversity and habitats for wildlife, yet are filled with waste and natural materials. The gabions have been incorporated into the design to function as both foundations and a display space for plants and aquatics. Future experimental work with gabions has been encouraged through a bespoke ‘how to’ leaflet which was issued to the client in combination with a projected master plan. The plan aims to merge with the master plan proposal by Urbed using gabion displays to form a natural circulation path towards the new shop.


The overall build cost is £157.50 most of which was used to buy fixings as all of the materials were reclaimed.


Click here for more information and to view the project blog and here to view the Live project page on the University website.

You might also want to check out  

Hulme Community Garden centre's  website 

Project blog

27.09.2012, 16:20
HCGC - Here's the brief

Hulme Community Garden Centre is a unique community led inner-city horticultural project. We are a not-for-profit organisation and our mission is to bring the community together through gardening. As a social enterprise we are a fully stocked garden centre and nursery retailing to everyone from amateur gardeners to allotmenteers, landscape gardeners to City Councils but we are equally a volunteer, education and training hub working with socially excluded people across Greater Manchester. We grow using organic methods, are underpinned by principles of sustainability and seek to build social capital in a greener city while promoting health and well-being. Established in 2000 we now welcome over 15000 visitors per year. 

The garden centre sales area is a crucial aspect of the site and its success, with profit from the sale of plants going back in to the community garden and nursery. With the site expanding onto the neighbouring car park, there is an exciting opportunity to develop the sales area through the design and construction of a permanent but dynamic installation that reflects the qualities and principles of the centre whilst enhancing the aesthetic and potential of the sales site. The design must embody the ethos of the community garden centre, encompassing all aspects of sustainability, from responsibly sourced materials and minimal costs to improving the local biodiversity and acting as a means of education for visitors to the centre, becoming in all aspects an exercise in sustainable design and build.