Infra_MANC is a public exhibition about the planning, construction and promotion of four infrastructural projects in central Manchester: two were completed, two were to remain unrealised. The essence of recovery in post-war Britain was speed: of movement and of communication – these propositions epitomise this spirit. To traverse the city two of these schemes would seek to bury themselves and two to take to the skies.
The Mancunian Way, the never realised Picc-Vic railway tunnel, the Guardian telephone exchange and fanciful dreams of a city centre heliport are all examined. These proposals are set against the optimism of the immediate post-war recovery, the reality of construction in the 1960s and the economic and political upheaval of the 1970s. Original maps, engineering schematics, architects’ drawings and marketing ‘machines’, many not normally seen by the public, will be displayed to explore the role of infrastructure in the contemporary city and to introduce historical context to these overridingly technological propositions.
The exhibition is curated by Richard Brook (Manchester School of Architecture) and Martin Dodge (Department of Geography, University of Manchester), with support and help from MIRIAD, Museum of Transport Greater Manchester, and Greater Manchester County Record Office with the City Archives.