Nov 20, 2020
News

Manchester will demolish part of Tadao Ando’s wall in Piccadilly Gardens.

Tadao Ando’s wall in Manchester’s Picadilly Gardens with protest graffiti. Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

Tadao Ando’s wall in Manchester’s Picadilly Gardens with protest graffiti. Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

Manchester has moved forward with plans to demolish part of renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s modernist wall in the city’s Piccadilly Gardens green space. The wall, which in recent months has become a canvas for protests against the government’s response to COVID-19, is Ando’s only structure in the United Kingdom. It went up in 2002 as part of a citywide redevelopment project to rehabilitate the image of both the gardens and Manchester at large. Its minimalist concrete aesthetic, however, has been a source of divisiveness for residents.
In 2014, after the Manchester Evening News lobbied for the wall’s removal, city council members announced plans to beautify the structure with greenery. Opinion has since shifted in the intervening years, however, and earlier this year council members announced plans to demolish the free-standing portion of the wall that still remained in public hands. Demolitions began on Monday, and will continue in incremental overnight shifts for the next several weeks.
Councillor Pat Karney told The Guardian:
This is the news that everybody in Manchester has been waiting for—part of the wall is coming down. I’m going to mark it on my calendar. This is only the first part of what will be much bigger plans to make Piccadilly Gardens the vibrant and inviting space at the heart of the city which it should be.
According to Artsy data, inquiries on works by Ando on the platform peaked in 2016, when he was awarded the Isamu Noguchi Award alongside fellow artist Elyn Zimmerman. Though inquiries dropped off after that year, interest in Ando's work on the platform has seen an uptick once again in the past two years.