The winners of the tender to design the memorial to the victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack have been announced.
Manchester Memorial Advisory Group, an independent body of civic and business leaders, have consulted with the families of those killed in the attack and chosen a design called Glade of Light – A Living Memorial by BCA Landscape.
The memorial will consist of a grove of native trees, illuminated at night with a multitude of tiny lights which have been described as being like “a field of stars.”
Within the ‘tranquil garden-like space’ will be other planting and 22 memory pools with the names of those killed in the attack and personalised messages from their friends and families.
The memorial will be located on a light and open space between Manchester Cathedral and Chetham’s School of Music, at the foot of Fennel Street bounded by the River Irwell.
The concept by local landscape designers BCA Landscape and graphic designers Smiling Wolf was the most popular design overall with the families and scored highest in the technical appraisal.
The design team will now begin more detailed design work around the concept, with families continuing to be engaged as it takes further shape. Timescales for its design and creation are to be agreed.
Professor Malcolm Press, chair of the Manchester Memorial Advisory Group and Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “We have said throughout that we want to create a fitting and lasting tribute.
“First and foremost this is about the emotional side of the memorial and ensuring that it fulfils its role as a place of loving remembrance and contemplation.
“We’ve also had to consider more practical aspects, ensuring it can be properly maintained and will be created to the highest standards.
“We believe of all the tenders, BCA Landscape and Smiling Wolf’s was the one which best responded to this brief, while recognising the importance of ongoing engagement with the families.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “No one in Manchester will ever forget the terrible events of 22 May 2017 and nor will we forget those who lost their lives and others who were badly affected.
“This memorial will be a permanent symbol of remembrance, a tribute to those killed that night and a place to come together in solidarity and reflection. We will be sharing full details as soon as they are finalised next year.”
Andy Thomson, director of BCA Landscape, said: “It is both a great honour and a great responsibility to win the tender to design this memorial.
“We are determined to do our utmost to design a memorial which is a place of tribute, comfort, tranquility and reflection and do the families of those who lost loved ones and everyone else affected by the attack proud.”
Manchester’s Medieval Quarter, where the memorial will be, is currently undergoing wider regeneration which will see a new public area created along the River Irwell, extending the space at Cathedral Gardens and creating a green and calm backdrop to the memorial.