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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2019

FLC 2019 Future Landscape Conference review

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High Speed 2 The design team's approach

The Green Heart University of Birmingham project

Paving Hardscape's granite at Portrush

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DESIGN TANK PHOTO MATTEO GASTEL

Bloc Design: Atle Tveit & Lars Tornøe

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WELCOME

WELCOME Welcome to the October/November issue of FutureArc. Firstly, we present a review of the Future Landscape Conference held in London on 17 October 2019. Organised by Eljays44 – the media business which publishes FutureArc and Pro Landscaper magazines and hosts the industry-leading FutureScape event – the conference was an opportunity to network and discuss the future of commercial landscaping. In this issue we also talk to the design team behind the HS2 development, which is set to be one of the biggest and most important infrastructure projects in the UK for more than 150 years. This issue’s Property piece features a company which places a high value on secure stewardship. Our regular columnists discuss topics including the importance of ‘soft skills’ in the industry, and how zero-carbon projects can also be examples of beautiful architecture. In the Portfolio section, we highlight a striking new public realm space at the centre of the University of Birmingham’s historic campus, and the Cator Park project in Kidbrooke Village – one of London’s most significant new housing-led developments. Our international project features the first phase of Parque Central, a new urban park in Valencia, Spain. The spotlight is on Kebony in our regular Materials section, and we also feature the third instalment in a series focusing on soils. We round o with special features on paving, wildflower and street furniture. At FutureArc, we always look forward to hearing your news, and if you have any interesting projects, please send details! Hope you find this issue inspiring Gill Langham Features editor gill.langham@eljays44.com

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WELCOME

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CONTENTS

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FEATURES

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MATERIALS

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KEBONY

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STREET FURNITURE

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Selecting sOIL for podiums

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PAVING

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WILDFLOWER turf

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NEWS FUTURE LANDSCAPE CONFERENCE COVERAGE

This inaugural event, held in London last month, gave delegates the chance to network and debate the future of the industry

INTERVIEW Callum Whyte, Ares Landscape Architects Ltd

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Churchman Thornhill Finch’s striking new space at the centre of the Birmingham campus

Opinion Maurizio Mucciola, PiM.STUDIO Architects

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PROPERTY Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Ltd

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infrastructure HS2’s design team explains its approach

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cator Park, london Part of a £1bn regeneration project in Greenwich, led by HTA Design LLP

OPINION Romy Rawlings, Vestre

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THE Green heart, University of birmingham

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Parque central, valencia Valencia’s new urban park is defined by Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s multi-level gardens

Analysing sustainable hardwood alternatives and their use in Oslo

Case studies from Woodscape, Furnitubes and Vestre

Tim O’Hare details the challenges when specifying soil for landscapes built ‘on structure’

Hardscape’s granite at Portrush

Four spaces where wellbeing is enhanced by biodiversity

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50 EDITORIAL Features editor – Gill Langham gill.langham@eljays44.com Head of content – Nina Mason nina.mason@eljays44.com PRODUCTION Subeditor – Katrina Roy katrina.roy@eljays44.com Subeditor – Sam Seaton sam.seaton@eljays44.com Design: Kara Thomas

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SALES Business development manager – Jamie Wilkinson jamie.wilkinson@eljays44.com

Eljays44 Ltd

Head of sales – Jessica McCabe jessica.mccabe@eljays44.com

Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd – Connecting Horticulture

MANAGEMENT Managing director – Jim Wilkinson jim.wilkinson@eljays44.com

The 2019 subscription price for FutureArc is £125. Subscription records are maintained at Eljays44 Ltd, 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA, UK. Articles and information contained in this publication are the copyright of Eljays44 Ltd and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publishers. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, uncommissioned photographs or manuscripts.

Editorial director – Lisa Wilkinson lisa.wilkinson@eljays44.com

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Whilst every effort has been made to maintain the integrity of our advertisers, we accept no responsibility for any problem, complaints, or subsequent litigation arising from readers’ responses to advertisements in the magazine. We also wish to emphasise that views expressed by editorial contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.

Cover image ©Richard Bloom Project: Gustafson Porter + Bowman

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P6 News P8 Future Landscape Conference coverage

NEWS LDA Design secure outline planning for Welborne Garden Village A development for a new garden community has been granted outline planning permission by Fareham Borough Council. Designed holistically as a place whose spirit, character and form are inspired by its landscape setting, Welborne Garden illage is one of the first of the Government-backed new wave of garden communities. LDA Design has played an instrumental role in unlocking the potential of the site, which will involve the development of a 6,000-home settlement by Buckland Development Ltd. The company’s early involvement included defining the initial vision and framework, and shaping the Welborne Plan, adopted in 2015. More recently, LDA Design has guided preparation of the planning application via the Welborne Delivery Group. LDA Design director and newly appointed chair, Frazer Osment, says: “We facilitated collaborative delivery group meetings involving both the council and developer.”

“Through these sessions, which took place over the past 18 months, we were able to build confidence that the proposals would result in great placemaking – meeting the aspirations of both the landowner and the council.”

Frazer Osment

Welborne is designed to meet the needs of modern living, be easily walkable, served by good public transport and provide close contact to nature. Active lifestyles, wellbeing, and enterprise are key drivers. Infrastructure is planned and designed as part of a holistic, overarching strategy. Social facilities will be integrated early on with housing delivery, providing tangible benefits for first settlers. This garden community will include workspaces, schools, a health centre, woodland, and even a hotel, and is expected to bring significant new employment opportunities to the area, with

©Fareham Borough Council

NEWS

NEWS

an estimated 5,700 new jobs. The Welborne Plan sets a target of 30 a ordable housing. A notfor-profit trust will provide support and stewardship as the village grows, overseeing maintenance for public realm and encouraging resident participation. Commenting on the development, John Beresford, managing director of Buckland Development Ltd, says: “LDA Design’s involvement helped the local authority focus on the most important aspects of placemaking, ensuring design integrity was safeguarded. They were able to bring their experience of delivering similarsized schemes to the table, which meant we could keep the project moving forward.” Sarah Ward, Welborne strategic lead for Fareham Borough Council, adds: “LDA Design has been invaluable in providing key specialist advice and support to the council over several years to get Welborne Garden Village to this milestone stage. “From landscape design, through masterplanning to support on large sites delivery and phasing, LDA has undertaken both a technical and a strategic role and contributed a consistent high level of expertise throughout its involvement.” A detailed planning agreement between the Council and Buckland Development Ltd will now be finalised over the coming months. www.lda-design.co.uk

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Going beyond shape.

Centenary Square, Birmingham. “As a continuous, but articulated surface over the full extent of the Square, the granite paving became a key element of the design.” Graeme Massie Architects. For further information on Hardscape’s material-types, textures, colours, shapes and sizes – please visit: www.hardscape.co.uk or telephone: 01204 565 500. Materials: Caesar White, Shiraz Red, Crystal Black and Yellow Rock granite paving, Yorkstone paving and Caesar White granite benches with anti-skateboarding grooves. Finishes: Flamed, honed, bush-hammered and cropped. Client: Birmingham City Council Architects: Graeme Massie Architects Contractor: Bouygues UK Sub-contractor: Fitzgerald Construction Project Management: Acivico Engineers: AECOM Hard landscape material suppliers: Hardscape

One of Birmingham’s flagship public spaces was officially opened to reveal its new design in a special ceremony on the 3rd July 2019. Centenary Square’s new look was unveiled nearly five years after Birmingham City Council, with RIBA, launched an international design competition, to redesign one of the city’s biggest squares, which attracted 185 entries from more than 30 countries. Its completion fulfils the organiser’s aspiration to create ‘a world class space and popular destination’.

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REVIEW FUTURE LANDSCAPE CONFERENCE

Keynote speaker Peter Massini, policy leader for green infrastructure at the Greater London Authority, addresses delegates

Held in october, the inaugural future landscape conference saw industry leaders and prescient innovators from a wide range of businesses discuss and explore the urgent topics surrounding the field of landscape architecture. HOSTED BY ELJAYS44, THE CONFERENCE was a bold and exciting look into the future

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Designing Communal Spaces session

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ou know something is working when there isn’t enough time to cover all the topics and questions, and this was certainly the case at the first FLC held last month in London. The success of the event was down partially to the right topics being covered, but mainly down to the quality of the speakers, their understanding of the subjects, their knowledge and their openness to share experiences made for a really informative day. As chair, I would like to thank the speakers and the audience for their participation. I would also like to repeat one of the audience’s questions: “Is the landscaping sector having a big enough influence on combatting climate change within the UK? Now, we move on to planning the next FLC.”

Jim Wilkinson, managing director at eljays44

“It’s about how we use the assets that we currently have in the city, that network of existing green spaces. What’s the future of these green spaces impacted by climate change?” PETER MASSINI POLICY LEAD FOR GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE AT THE GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY

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London 2019

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he Future Landscape Conference 2019, held in London on Thursday 17 October, featured high profile speakers and generated debates around the future of the industry. Held at the Museum of London ocklands, the inaugural event was hosted by Eljays44 – the producers of FutureArc, Pro Landscaper and organisers of the industry-leading utureScape events. Attracting around 100 attendees, the conference explored current trends in the sector and looked ahead at what to expect in the future. elegates heard the views of prominent names from the world of planning, landscape architecture, property development, commercial landscape contracting and architecture. The one-day event, held during a week of action in the city by Extinction Rebellion, was also a chance for delegates and suppliers to network. The keynote speech was made by Peter Massini, the policy lead for green infrastructure for the Greater London Authority.

“TOPICS DISCUSSED INCLUDED THE ROLE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS IN MITIGATING THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, INCREASING SOCIAL COHESION AND TACKLING LOSSES TO BIODIVERSITY” In his speech, Peter referenced the protests, saying I was delayed getting here by the Extinction Rebellion protests at Canning Town, which is quite apt really because you are the very people who need to begin to address some of the issues that Extinction Rebellion is bringing to the agenda.” Peter outlined the challenges facing cities in the future, stating a joined-up approach was necessary to make them healthy and sustainable places to live. It’s about how we use the assets that we currently have in the

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“THE CONFERENCE EXPLORED CURRENT TRENDS IN THE SECTOR AND LOOKED AHEAD AT WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE FUTURE” city, that network of existing green spaces.” He added: “What’s the future of these green spaces impacted by climate change?” The sessions that followed the keynote speech covered urban design & planning, communal spaces, soils and green & blue infrastructure and greening the skies: podiums. Topics discussed included the concept of the ’20-minute city’ which is being developed in Melbourne, Australia. In this initiative, to improve mobility, the Australian Government is creating a series of neighbourhoods where communities can access most of their daily needs within a 20-minute walk from home. Many of the same principles are being examined in UK cities, explained Simon Ward, professional head of discipline, landscape architecture and urban design at Atkins.

“It was a privilege to listen to such high calibre speakers covering a range of topics, all linked by the ‘future landscape’ thread. It was particularly timely in view of the climate emergency to see that some of the speakers mentioned this in relation to their own areas of expertise. A great venue, and a very well organised event.” DAVID MULHOLLAND DIRECTOR, MULHOLLAND LANDSCAPE CONSULTANTS The presentations were followed by panel discussions and the audience was given a chance to join the debate at the end of each session. Topics discussed included the role of landscape architects in mitigating the e ects of climate change, increasing social cohesion and tackling losses to biodiversity.

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“Our own experience as a practice is that when community is involved in a project, it is the most successful” JAQUELIN CLAY JFA ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING

“The important thing within our schemes is to try and demote the car. We need to be flexible and I think our urban areas are going to start to shift what they look like in their aesthetic.” ADRIAN JUDD LANDSCAPE DIRECTOR AT PRP ARCHITECTS

“There is a thought process that is now evolving where cities do need to embrace nature. There are many aspects of what greenery offers to us as a society and it creates a more benign and diverse environment, particularly within our cities.” CHRIS CHURCHMAN DIRECTOR AT CHURCHMAN THORNHILL FINCH

“The future of all cities is that we have to be a lot smarter, in the broadest sense of the word and the technological sense. How can these two opposite poles of nature and technology come together? The biophilic smart city integrates nature and natural processes at all levels, and does as much for all nature as it does for us.” DR MIKE WELLS DIRECTOR AND CO-FOUNDER OF BIODIVERSITY BY DESIGN

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NEWS

“A lot of what we should be doing in the future is not so much about creating new spaces, but protecting those that we have. Without too much imagination or cost, some of these spaces could be converted into useful public realm.” SIMON WARD PROFESSIONAL HEAD OF DISCIPLINE, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN DESIGN AT ATKINS

“There were many engaging, passionate speakers and interesting debates on the impact of the austerity programme on urban design, the need for stakeholder engagement and the potential of green and blue infrastructure and greening the skies to improve carbon sequestration and air quality in modern cities.” JANE HART SENIOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT, JFA ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING

Noel Farrer speaks in the Designing Communal Spaces session

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“We need to create designs that are ready for today, but also adaptable for tomorrow.” LUDO PITTIE HEAD OF LANDSCAPE, UK AT WSP

“As our cities face the reality of climate change and societal divides, dialogue regarding the role and quality of our public spaces should be ever-present. The speakers not only highlighted the obvious need for designers to step up and play a part in this dialogue but also how we can do so collectively and constructively to build a sustainable, connected and beautiful world for future generations. The grouped format of the sessions was a masterstroke, and the high quality of the speakers provided a fantastic foundation for those in the room to take the dialogue out into our day to day lives as industry leaders.” KEVIN SIMPSON LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT, HLM ARCHITECTS

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“As landscape designs have become more challenging, we’ve had to evolve the soils to match that. The soil industry is ready and geared up to help deliver all the future landscapes that our industry wants to produce.” TIM O’HARE PARTNER AND PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT AT TIM O’HARE ASSOCIATES

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“I was impressed with the passion and enthusiasm that the speakers had for their projects. It was encouraging to hear that the success of projects revolves around the engagement and trust of the community just as much as the design and professional input. The insight I got from the day has given me a better understanding of the use of open space and landscape design, which is invaluable in my dealings with developer clients.”

“It’s no coincidence that some of our most successful schemes are the ones where the whole team has worked collaboratively. The aim is to provide good quality rooftop landscapes for all residents, regardless of property value or tenure, and make sure there’s a greater connection between the rooftop and the ground floor landscape.” PAUL FRENCH TECHNICAL DIRECTOR AT FABRIK

NEIL BROMWICH PARTNER, OSBORNE CLARKE LLP

“The UK is pushing the boundaries of these elevated landscapes. We think we’re going to see more and more of these buildings with landscape on a large scale at the top because space on the ground isn’t there. It’s all about going up into another world, and this is what we’re interested in as a practice – this idea of reconnecting with nature in dense city environments.”

“In the late 50s and early 60s, Thamesmead was the future both in terms of built form and landscape, and it’s interesting to reflect on what that meant then and what it means today. By 2050, around 100,000 people will call Thamesmead their home, and landscape is really the leading factor in what it should become.”

ARMEL MOURGUE PARTNER AT GILLESPIES LLP

DIRECTOR OF LANDSCAPE AND PLACEMAKING AT PEABODY

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DR PHIL ASKEW

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Rejuvenating Wokingham Market Place through Urban Tree Planting Wokingham was late to be settled in comparison with other nearby towns, as it was always a heavily forested area. It appears it was first settled by Saxons travelling west from Woking, but there is no early record of it, until the church was built during the 1100s. The real town building began in about 1220, when the Bishop set out numerous building plots on parallel roads, terminating in a triangular market place, where the Town Hall now stands. The right to hold markets in this space was granted, and this town became the centre for the Windsor Forest people during medieval times. Much of the town centre is Victorian, but there are several exceptional older properties, many of them dating back to more prosperous times. Wokingham was known for its silk, its bell foundries and more latterly, brick making, and these trades brought immigrants, and money to the town. The first Guildhall was built on the Market Place in 1612, but this was demolished in 1858, and replaced by the fine building currently in use in 1860.

the main contractor Morgan Sindall and the installer Ideverde to ensure the 6 ArborSystem Tree Pits were installed with ease. These consisted of RootSpace 600, 2 deep, aeration, irrigation, RootStart Mycorrhizal Fungi, Ullswater Tree Guards and custom Tree Grilles.

As with many towns, road traffic began to cause major congestion in the town centre. Early one-way systems became a problem, and in 2010 the local authority decided that a total revamp of the market place and road network was essential.

The results are spectacular – the backdrop of green canopy cover giving this historic market place a calm peaceful air, and an attractive setting for those who work, live or pass through the town centre.

There have always been trees in Wokingham town centre – the town motto is E Glande Quercus (“from the acorn, the oak”) and the existing trees were causing pavement breakup and structural hazards. It was therefore obvious to include GreenBlue Urban when the new tree positions were planned, to ensure that the 6 new Capinius Betulus trees planted had the opportunity to attain species potential and provide large canopies in the future. Working alongside GreenBlue Urban, the client Wokingham Borough Council ensured the project went ahead as per planning working closely with

greenblue.com | 01580 830 800

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Build a greener future. Advert template.indd 10

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FEATURES P16 Interview Callum Whyte, Ares Landscape Architects

P21 Opinion Maurizio Mucciola, PiM.STUDIO Architects

P23 Opinion Romy Rawlings, Vestre

P25 Property Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Ltd

P29 Infrastructure HS2’s landscape design team explains its approach

INTERVIEW

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CALLUM WHYTE

ARES LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS LTD Ares Landscape Architects, already Well-established in Sheffield, is now developing its portfolio in London and the south-east. leading the London office is Callum Whyte, who highlights here some of the exciting projects it has been working on Can you tell us a little bit about the background of the company? Ares Landscape Architects was started by Ricardo and Ania Ares eight years ago, and has gone on to become one of the largest landscape design practices in the north of England, with three offices nationwide and 24 sta members in total. We’ve got to the point now that a lot of good jobs have been delivered and we’re starting to get recognition for our built portfolio. The Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park was a huge project for us, and winning the Landscape Architecture of the ear category at the 201 A Architecture Awards was an achievement and a real milestone for the company. How did you get involved with the company? I started working for them when they moved into their first office around five and a half years ago.

I came in as a mid-level landscape architect and after a few years of things going well in Sheffield, the directors asked if I wanted to start up a London office. It was a fantastic opportunity. Could you tell us a little bit about the reason behind setting up a London office? The company is well established in Sheffield, but we were spending so much time travelling down to London for meetings that it just seemed to make sense to open an office here. It was a case of we’ll give it a go’ with very little to lose. our years later there are six of us, with a few more coming down from Sheffield and things are going well What was it like being responsible for setting up the London office? It was quite an interesting jump. I moved down to London and we had a live/work unit which was just me on my own for about six months before we took on the first person. Within 1 months there were four of us. By that point, we had moved out of the flat and opened an office in Aldgate East. We were there for two years and have recently expanded to a bigger office in Bethnal Green. I was thrown in at the deep end, but I think the directors realised quite early on that I had the right

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reliance on that has dropped. We still get just as much, but we’ve got a mixed portfolio now and it’s the same in London. It’s taken a while, but we’re starting to get a lot of jobs in the public sector in the London boroughs. We’re working on an interesting park project in Shoreditch that has received significant backing, which is pretty exciting. We’re also working on a few mixed residential schemes. I live in East London and we’ve got quite a few jobs now in that area. I think for any landscape architect when you start making changes to the environment around you, it really becomes fulfilling. Most of our work is design-based rather than planning or report writing. About 95% of our work gets built, so that’s good for when we’re taking on graduates and junior sta because we’re able to give them a wide breadth of experience. Is there a specific project that you are proud of in London? The Royal Albert ock development is my first completed public realm scheme in London. The project included a college, a public space and a promenade that’s linked to the University of East London campus. It’s high-end public realm and it’s in a great location. The ones that are starting to come through now are the projects that I’m the most excited about working on and the park in Shoreditch in particular will be something to be proud of.

attributes. It’s been an amazing experience and the directors have been good at not putting the pressure on too much. They come down regularly but generally it’s just us cracking on with things. We have a consistent flow of work. Ares already had repeat clients in and around London, but now we’ve been here for a few years it’s reassuring that the new clients we have made are becoming repeat clients too.

How is the company structured? Ares work from three locations Sheffield, London and Cheltenham – but we operate as one big practice and share resources across all three sites. We try and make sure there are opportunities for the offices to mix, not only in a work sense but also socially. Again, this all harks back to the whole

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“ARES’ PROACTIVE MINDSET CONVINCES CLIENTS THAT WE’RE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE WHOLE DESIGN PROCESS”

1 Knowledge Quarter, Liverpool 2 National College for High Speed Rail, Doncaster 3 Fairchild’s Garden, Hackney

How would you describe the company ethos? There is a casual, creative culture within the office. Having a family environment is a key part of the company ethos. When we opened the London office, keeping clients happy was relatively straightforward, but the thing I probably found most challenging was repeating the Ares office culture in a new location. Having a number of other employees relocate down here has helped with that. Does Ares specialise in a specific kind of project? We do a lot of work in the education sector, but to ensure we have a variety of work in portfolio, the

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office environment and culture, making sure that everyone is getting the same kind of experience at Ares no matter which office they work in. We are quite a young firm and the sta here are generally aged between 25 and 30. Ricardo has tried to maintain a strategy of taking people on as graduates or junior landscape architects and then developing them to progress within the company. This has meant that those people who came in at the start are now the office managers and associates.

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What makes Ares stand out? Although we have got an informal approach, we make ourselves indispensable to every client. Most of our work is with repeat clients and that’s the way we’ve grown. A key part of landscape architecture is being a problem solver. As much as we’re all designers, landscape architects are so important in pulling together all the consultants involved in

“WE MAKE OURSELVES INDISPENSABLE TO EVERY CLIENT”

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a project, from the engineers and architects all the way to the ecologists and the arborists. What made you decide to become a landscape architect? I’ve been creative from a young age and art was my favourite subject at school. My mum designs stained glass windows and my dad was a geography teacher. Growing up, our holidays were in Snowdonia or the Alps so, there was a definite mix of an interest in the outdoors along with my creative side. I kind of got into landscape architecture by luck. When I was at secondary school, there was a big drive to get people to go to university. I wanted to go but I didn’t know what I wanted to study. I went to a UCAS convention and there was a little desk with two students who were studying landscape architecture. I’d never heard of it as a career and had thought that I wanted to be an architect, but they explained what landscape architecture was and asked what subjects I was studying – at the time I was studying graphic design and geography. “That’s perfect,” they said, and I was just like: “Yeah, I think you’re right.” Obviously, studying landscape architecture is an extremely vocational subject there aren’t many places you can go if you end up not liking it as a career. But I was lucky. The moment I started I absolutely loved it. How did your career progress? I did an undergraduate degree at Sheffield, then a year’s placement at Leicester Council. Following that, I went back to university to do my Master’s and then got a job at a small landscape architecture studio in Lancaster. I stayed with them for a year and a half, and then decided I needed to get the travelling bug out of my system, so I went abroad for a year. When I returned home, I got in touch with Ares and within two weeks I was working for them. What are your design inspirations? For me, it’s always been about functionality rather than focusing on designers or themes. One of the most important things for a successful landscape is it being populated. If somewhere is uninviting to the public, then I think you’ve failed. With some spaces it doesn’t matter what you do – if it’s in the right place it will be full of people – but the art is getting people to use a space that wasn’t necessarily used before you come along and change things. This links back to the project we’re doing in Shoreditch where the garden is currently not used. We carried out a consultation and not only is it not used,

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but the people that walk past it every day don’t even realise it’s there. The plan will be a total transformation and if we do it right, it will be a popular park. The park is close to the centre of Shoreditch at the end of Columbia Road, which is famous for the flower market. The park used to be a cemetery, and revolutionary horticulturist, Thomas Fairchild, is buried there. It’s called Fairchild’s Garden now. We’re going through the process of getting the RHS involved as it’s a way of celebrating horticulture and Thomas Fairchild. What would your advice be to anyone who was thinking of becoming a landscape architect? If you’ve got an interest in your environment in any way, whether it’s to do with scenery, mountains, plants, or you just like walking around cities, you’re heading in the right direction to become a landscape architect. Landscape architecture is such a broad profession – you can join a design consultancy like ours and get paid to draw and scribble designs, or if you end up discovering you like report writing then you can go down the planning route. There are so many bits in the middle that, if you want a range of work, you can get the best of both. Does Ares find it easy to recruit landscape architects? Generally, the success of Ares from the start has been down to employing good people. It’s such a small industry – it really does mean a lot if you can get the right people. It’s very competitive now, so we’re being more flexible about giving potential employees options. Our strategy is we interview people we think would be a good fit and o er them the choice of which office they’d like to work in, rather than specifying a location. There’s also an option for employees to move between workplaces. There’s that kind of fluidity between all the offices. This approach seems to work, and we’ve done well with recruitment over the last few years. Has the company worked on international projects? We’ve been involved with a couple of huge schemes in China, including a masterplan for a tourist hub in a mountain region, but we don’t actively look for it. Has the role of the landscape architect changed during your time in the industry? I don’t know if it’s the profession in general or whether we’re just lucky with the clients that we have, but I think there’s an understanding that landscape architects can o er a lot more than just providing

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7 planting plans. It’s a slow process but we’re getting more recognition as a profession within the construction industry. Now we are frequently brought in at the beginning of a project rather than as an afterthought, which in terms of our problem-solving ability, is where we have a big input. In general, what challenges is the industry facing? Although it’s getting better, I still think the importance of the landscape architect is not as high as it should be. I think we o er a lot and, although we’re lucky at Ares, sometimes it can be quite difficult to get recognition. A lot of us come from a masterplanning background and we should be getting involved at the early stages. In most cases, that is what’s happening, but there are still some clients and developers out there who don’t quite see it that way. There’s also an issue with a shortage of landscape architects. There is more work out there but not necessarily the landscape architects to deliver it. The Landscape Institute is a real driver for encouraging new graduates to ensure we get new talent coming into the profession. We need to be a bit more flexible in terms of the routes into the profession though, especially with the size of tuition fees. How do you see the future? We’ve just moved office, so we would like to think this will be our permanent spot for some time and will allow us to expand in London. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing, keeping sta happy, keeping clients happy and trying to have a positive impact on London in the process.

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“A LOT OF GOOD JOBS HAVE BEEN DELIVERED AND WE’RE STARTING TO GET RECOGNITION FOR OUR BUILT PORTFOLIO”

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University of Wolverhampton courtyard Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park Royal Albert Dock, London Liverpool Crown Place Concept sketch, China

Ares Landscape Architects Operating from three offices across the UK – Sheffield, London and Cheltenham – the company provides a comprehensive range of landscape consultancy services throughout the UK. W: www.ares.eu.com

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06/11/2019 11:41


FEATURES

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espite warnings from experts and scientists about the disastrous consequences of climate change for more than 40 years, people only seemed to truly realise the real dangers this summer, after Greta Thunberg started her Friday Strikes and Extinction Rebellion started disrupting UK commuters’ routines. And this only accounts for a minority of people, with politicians and many others still in denial or acknowledging the problem, but doing little to find a solution. It is, of course, always better late than never, and it is welcome that architects as a profession are starting to take seriously the impact our work has on the planet. In the last six or seven months there have been numerous articles, talks and debates explaining that the construction industry accounts for 30 to 50% of the carbon emissions of the country, the exact percentage depends on how the life cycle of building and materials and other considerations are calculated. But regardless of the exact figure, the statistics show that our work has a big impact on the environment – if one had ever doubted it.

“THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY ACCOUNTS FOR 30 TO 50% OF THE CARBON EMISSIONS OF THE COUNTRY” The last few months have seen a succession of declarations. UK architects have declared a climate and biodiversity emergency, followed by several other countries. Architecture schools’ students have done the same, and governments (the first) have gone as far as declaring a climate crisis, as well as many other disciplines and professions. At my practice, PiM.studio

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“AN URGENT AND RADICAL CHANGE IN THE WAY WE APPROACH OUR PROJECTS, CLIENTS AND THE ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION IN GENERAL IS NECESSARY”

OPINION MAURIZIO MUCCIOLA Maurizio Mucciola, director of London-based practice PIM.studio Architects, illustrates how zerocarbon projects can also be examples of beautiful architecture Architects, we have signed the Architects Declare letter and we acknowledge, with many others, that it is now time to act, without delay. An urgent and radical change in the way we approach our projects, clients and the architectural profession in general is necessary. It is our duty as architects to do everything we can to demonstrate that low or zero carbon architecture is not just about high-tech buildings ticking all the required boxes to win a certain green certification. It is with our creative minds that we can design the most beautiful buildings, while keeping sustainability at the core of their aesthetic value. The change must a ect all decisions we take as designers, from the structure, to ventilation, lighting and all the materials we use – both as visible finishes, as insulation as well as everything else.

Architects’ notoriously big egos are often said to be one of the main obstacles to be surmounted in the path towards a truly sustainable architecture, but I’m convinced architects can still satisfy their (our) egos, and design impressive award-winning buildings by embracing a fully sustainable approach. If we can make a compelling case to convince a client to use, for example, a beautiful Brazilian stone in their new hotel lobby despite its high cost, or if we are able to sell our amazing design for any new building, a new villa or a skyscraper, then we can make a similarly compelling case to demonstrate sustainable practice. This could mean revealing the beauty of a façade with glass from recycled beer bottles, or a floor tile entirely made from recycled car tyres. Most importantly, perhaps we can almost always make a strong case for remodelling an existing building instead of demolishing and rebuilding it, and creatively propose a design to our clients that is beautiful, truly sustainable and, hopefully, part of the solution.

ABOUT Maurizio Mucciola Maurizio is fascinated by the relationship between city, architecture and public places, and is passionate about rethinking the way these interact. He explored this question in his work as lead architect for V&A Dundee, a dramatic building which draws people to the waterfront, revitalises the idea of public space, and blurs the boundaries between a building and its surroundings. Before setting up PiM.studio with Maria-Chiara Piccinelli in 2016, Maurizio worked with Kengo Kuma & Associates in Tokyo, Edinburgh and Paris, with OMA/Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam, and with Jeffrey Inaba at C-Lab in New York. He also collaborates with the London School of Architecture, co-leading one of the LSA Design Think Tanks: “Emerging Tools – designing, building and making in the 21st century”, and he’s a RIBA Student Mentor at Central Saint Martin – UAL. W: www.pim.studio

FutureArc October/November 2019 21

06/11/2019 12:04


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06/11/2019 11:27


FEATURES

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ast month, I attended the Landscape Institute’s first CP day on soft’ or human skills – an area of training that’s been highlighted as much needed, particularly for leaders or those managing teams of people. Topics included: personal branding, emotional intelligence, wellbeing in the workplace, gender equality and broader diversity aspects, influencing and psychology, customer service, resilience, community engagement, human-centred marketing, social media, among others. The response from delegates was overwhelmingly positive, with excellent speakers and thought-provoking sessions, now we just need to put it into practice! So simple, and yet something many of us struggle with, whether we work alone or in vast, multidisciplinary companies. But another pressing reason to truly embed these positive changes into our personal and professional lives is that, at the time of writing this piece, it was World Mental Health ay (10 October). Many of us working in landscape are privileged, finding ourselves in a position to make a positive and meaningful impact on people, place and nature. But our industry has its darker side, and we must all take note to support those in difficulty around us, as well as ourselves.

“THERE ARE COMMON PRESSURES THAT AFFECT SO MANY PEOPLE WORKING THROUGHOUT THE SECTOR” There are common pressures that a ect so many people working throughout the sector, for instance: • The rate of change in business, and the expectation that we can/will be available 24/7, whether to answer an email or produce work to highly pressured deadlines (sometimes sharing digital designs throughout the night with teams on the other side of the world). • Leaders and managers who feel the upward pressure from their teams and downward stress from their own managers and clients, and often feel there’s nobody for them to talk to or o oad on. • Millennials and Generation Z age groups are

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Unconscious bias training may often be key to understanding our own stance on many aspects of diversity in the workplace and is a great place to start.

“WE MUST ALL TAKE NOTE, TO SUPPORT THOSE IN DIFFICULTY AROUND US, IF NOT OURSELVES”

OPINION ROMY RAWLINGS Following on from her earlier columns covering diversity and inclusion in the landscape sector, and the reasons behind the importance of attracting a diverse workforce at a time when there is a shortage of skilled people to fill available roles, here Romy Rawlings discusses the ‘soft skills’ that are so vital in the industry. particularly vulnerable. Young men aged 15-24, are at higher risk of suicide who we will see more of through growing schemes such as degree apprenticeships. Those with specific protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 which could, potentially, be any one of us! Crucially, a key discussion from the CP event was that we all need to be able to be ourselves in our lives – at home and at work. To be open and accepted, no matter our orientation, race, ability and religion. This is a key support to our mental health.

A recent initiative that supports one important aspect across several related organisations is the newly launched Rainbow Places network for LGBTQ+ professionals. And we cannot ignore the current and shocking crisis on construction sites, where the rate of suicide is greater than in any other profession – estimated at 3.7 times the national average for low-skilled male workers. Many support initiatives are already in place mental health first aiders, raising mental health awareness, and changing culture including addressing bullying, exploitation, etc. But we must do more – and quickly. The zero-harm health and safety policies that once focused on workers’ physical safety – and have been so e ective must become more successful for mental health. Perhaps the most important thing we can all do is to talk more openly about our concerns (whether about work-related issues or the impact of difficulties at home) and equally, support those around us by o ering the opportunity for them to do the same. Many organisations have undertaken mental health first aid training for their sta , and this is a great place to start. Being aware of the likely problems that could surface, knowing what to say (and more importantly, what not to say), and where or when to seek further help will put anyone in a better position to start and maintain these difficult conversations. If we each looked at just one of the points raised above and made a pledge to act on that – something that is within our personal ability – just think about what an immediate impact that could have on ourselves and those around us. Find out more information about the Rainbow Places network at http:// web.landscapeinstitute.org/cn/a4dxz/ rainbowplaces-signup

FutureArc October/November 2019 23

06/11/2019 12:15


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06/11/2019 11:28


FEATURES

GOING VERTICAL Alex Lifschutz, whose company designed London’s Victory Plaza scheme for developers QDD, explains why secure stewardship and a sense of joy are key to landscaping

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sk Alex Lifschutz, the founding director of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands architectural practice, what his guiding principles are for creating green space in new developments and he’ll surprise you. “I think the most interesting thing to consider is who controls the landscape. It’s one thing to plant it and make it, but how then, is it maintained? Who owns it? And how is it appropriated?” Granted, Alex, whose company designed the Victory Plaza towers and landscape at London’s East Village for developers Qatari Diar and Delancey (QDD), will give the obligatory nod to ensuring that landscape design meshes with a project’s architecture and surroundings. “It’s very rare that you have a blank canvas – there is always context. The softer context is the ecology of the district, and the harder context is, obviously, the buildings and structures. So you have to understand those first, then you have a choice – you can complement them, you can extend them, but you can also challenge and contrast them. There’s no rule for that other than the traditional architectural rules of place-making.” But the interesting questions for him are ‘who owns the green space?’ and ‘who is going to be responsible for it in the future?’ People may wonder why he’d think about that when it comes to landscape design, but as he explains: “Of course, the day after you leave

[a site] things start to change. So, the ongoing stewardship is an important issue, and the other thing is ownership. Is the space yours? Is it gated? If it isn’t maintained, what can you do about it?” That’s because there’s often a trade-o between maintenance and creative landscaping strategies. When it’s done properly, Alex notes, The benefits of green space are clear, on a functional, psychological and social level. The most important thing is that this is so cost-e ective as every tree you plant and every field you make available creates a setting that people find enjoyable. Developers are generally aware of this, with the best ones making significant investments in communal landscapes and public realm, and working out long-term stewardship plans. Nonetheless, the tendency among many others is to make maintenance simple by putting in a lawn or two and calling it green space. But a patch of grass and the odd green wall aren’t enough, says Alex, particularly in very dense developments.

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FEATURES

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“THE BENEFITS OF GREEN SPACE ARE CLEAR ON A FUNCTIONAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL LEVEL”

“Things like green walls are very exciting but they don’t replace traditional landscaping. It’s not greenwash. You can’t just do ‘green’ and say: ‘OK, that’s it, I have done it. I have made my contribution to climate change’. It’s a relationship between space and development that needs to be nurtured. You need both. Without the development you don’t have homes for people or places to work, but you need to make sure there’s enough room to breathe.” He continues, “Unfortunately, the denser the development and the more ingenious and imaginative the landscape solution, the more you have to place an obligation on the developer to find a long-term, sustainable way to fund that solution, because, inevitably, it requires more technology such as irrigation systems or more maintenance.” Given this, understanding stewardship and ownership of a landscape is particularly central to Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ designs. That said, Alex is encouraged by the expansion of the private rented sector in the UK. Victory Plaza’s nearly 500 homes, for example, are managed by build-to-rent company Get Living, and he thinks this is a business model that solves the maintenance conundrum. “I think the really interesting thing about the PRS is that the abundance of green space and green amenity creates value, which hopefully translates into better occupancy rates and better returns on the investment. That’s the beautiful symmetry about the

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PRS, because the moment you let standards fall is the moment people say, ‘Well, I’m not going to stay here’. That’s a new dynamic.” At Victory Plaza, which is part of the conversion of the London 2012 Olympics Athletes’ Village and consists of a series of podium buildings and two towers with 27 and 29 storeys, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands opted for creating green space in the form of communal roof gardens. The towers overlook Victory Park, where QDD and Get Living run a packed calendar of events, from food markets to fireworks displays, because, says Alex, “that’s the beauty of open landscape. In it, anything can happen, you can go from a market to an exhibition or a fashion show.” But ictory Pla a’s five rooftop areas, situated at the top of the nine-storey podium buildings, are the residents’ own havens. “They are there because they are serving the people in the towers,” says Alex. He explains that, because the two towers are so tall, Lifschut avidson Sandilands saw no benefit in installing balconies there. Instead, they agreed with the very forward-thinking local authority that any balcony space would be added back to each flat’s living room and the roof gardens would provide the necessary open space for residents to socialise and unwind. The advantage, explains Alex, is that you get a more generous flat, but the quid pro quo is that you need to invent a space where people can go on a sunny day – “That’s what created the roof gardens.” Installing them wasn’t easy, if only from a planting perspective. It is quite a struggle to find plants that can deal with the wind. It bleaches and dries out plants. The issue is always wind and exposure.” Their starting point was a green roof that Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands had already built at a place called Jacob’s Island. “It was a successful water garden with the most extraordinary range of Canada geese and nesting birds, which also created privacy.” But rather than being a mechanism to introduce seclusion, as at Jacob’s Island, the Victoria Plaza gardens are primarily amenity spaces, which called for a di erent design approach. Thus, the scheme incorporates some areas that are “uncurated and for private use – calm areas – and more open spaces, with pergolas, benches and sun loungers”. “Although,” admits Alex, “I don’t know how [usage] is going to play out. Everyone will feel their way through the gardens, and there may be more curation in terms of parties and events.” From an aesthetic viewpoint, the rooftop gardens form a visual connection across the Plaza buildings, and help soften their elevations. “I think they set a

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FEATURES

sense of fun, as in the UK, roof gardens aren’t so common. If you look at a roof and see a garden, it’s a visual message that there’s joy to be had. The architecture and beautiful details in handrails or walls don’t convey that same joy. It’s a strong message.” Of course, the gardens bring all the traditional benefits of open landscapes cleaning air, providing shade and shelter, supporting wildlife (particularly pollinators, birds and bats), and helping remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Alex believes solutions like Victory Plaza or Boeri Studio’s ertical orest have an increasingly important part to play in a world that is heating up. It seems intuitive to me that the more trees we plant, the more we’ll begin to address climate change. This seems to be a solution that would also be enjoyable.” The key to saving the planet, he believes, is not in some nuclear-powered machinery that captures carbon and stores it underground”. Instead, he feels we should create more green space. A world of forests and open landscapes, what could be more beautiful

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“IT’S VERY RARE THAT YOU HAVE A BLANK CANVAS –THERE IS ALWAYS CONTEXT” 1 The rooftop gardens provide communal green space 2 As the towers have no balconies, the rooftop scheme was designed primarily as an amenity space 3 The gardens have loungers for people to relax 4 The design combines private, calmer areas and more open spaces where people can socialise 5 The rooftop gardens also support birds, bats and pollinators Photographs ©Paul Riddle

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

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Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands is an award-winning architecture, design and urban planning practice based in West London. Some of the projects they worked on include the East Village’s Victory Plaza, the redevelopment of London’s Hanover Square and The Moorgate apart-hotel, as well as the Winchester Station Approach and the Illuminated River artwork across 15 Central London bridges. W: www.lds-uk.com

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08/10/2019 06/11/2019 09:48 11:25


FEATURES

ON THE

RIGHT TRACK

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Currently under review, High Speed 2 (better known as HS2) is set to be one of the largest and most significant infrastructure projects in the UK for more than 150 years. Here, HS2’s interim design director Christoph Brintrup and landscape design manager Susie Woodward-Moor explain how the landscape-led approach will help create an integrated green corridor along the rail network that responds to the urban and rural places through which it passes

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FEATURES

T Christoph Brintrup, HS2’s interim design director

Susie Woodward-Moor, HS2 landscape design manager

“THE IDEA IS TO LEAVE A POSITIVE FUTURE LEGACY BUT ONE THAT WILL WITHSTAND THE TEST OF TIME AND ALLOWS FOR FUTURE-PROOFING”

he UK’s new national high-speed rail network, HS2, which is currently under review, will involve the creation of many new places and spaces as well as restoring and growing natural environments. Announced by the government in August, the independent review into whether and how to proceed with the project is being chaired by Douglas Oakervee and is expected to publish its results this autumn. The report will provide the government with clear advice on the future of the project. Some work, mainly preparatory e orts, will continue to go ahead in parallel with the report’s work. Demolition and construction began last year at the sites of the planned main stations, including in Euston, London, and in Curzon Street, Birmingham. HS2 is set to be built in two phases, with Phase One linking London and the West Midlands and, if approved, Phase Two extending the line into Crewe followed by new lines to Manchester and Leeds. Green corridor Alongside improving connectivity and boosting the economy, HS2 is carefully managing its impact on the existing, natural environment. To reduce any possible impact, a green corridor is being created alongside HS2, which will be home to wildlife and integrate the rail network into the landscape. HS2’s interim design director

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Christoph Brintrup said: “Landscape is a critical part of the infrastructure, which we are taking seriously as a company and where we are creating a legacy that lasts for many generations to come. We are not looking for a consistent design, we are looking for a coherent approach and a design that is resilient and robust.” Christoph noted that the design team was looking beyond a purely mitigation-based point of view. “We know where the impacts are and what we need to do. But we want to go beyond that and create an environment that works for communities and the wider environment, while also delivering economic benefits. These are all very much linked to the landscape design.” Tailored landscape design and tree planting will blend HS2 into its surroundings and will include a network of habitats, ranging from woodlands and meadows to wetlands and ponds. Along the Phase One route, the corridor will cover 33km2 of habitat and will involve the creation of 9km2 of new woodlands. This will feature seven million trees and shrubs (more than double the amount a ected by HS2) and 4km2 of wildlife habitat. “This is extensive woodland which helps from the sustainability and climate change perspectives and is an example of creating a resilient and robust design,” added Christoph. Integrated design The new railway will pass through a diverse landscape in terms of character, quality and usage, including urban, semi-urban, rural and historic areas. Working with an independent panel of designers, landscape architects and ecologists, the HS2 landscape and design team has developed a strategy for the overall approach to the development. This has been titled the ‘Design Vision’, covering three core principles – people, place and time. HS2’s landscape design manager Susie Woodward-Moor said: “The Design Vision is at the heart of everything we’re doing. It has been exciting as a landscape architect to be working at such an early stage on a project to ensure that the placemaking

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06/11/2019 14:51


FEATURES

“IT’S AN INTERESTING OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK AT GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE ON A MASSIVE, LINEAR SCALE”

4 agenda is considered from the beginning. It’s an interesting opportunity to look at green infrastructure on a massive, linear scale and how it intercepts throughout the whole route. We want to leave a legacy that works within the environment it sits in.” Aside from the landscaping aspects of the scheme, the aim is also to leave a legacy through infrastructure. As Susie explained: “We are working collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure we can see improvements and benefits to some of the spaces a ected by the railway, for instance around stations. “It’s essential that the stations link into the city. At Birmingham Curzon Street, for example, there’s a pro-active team of designers who are looking at how the new station will positively impact the city and fit within its masterplanning ambitions. The idea is to leave a positive future legacy, one that will withstand the test of time and allows for future-proofing. The road network that sits around the railway also needs to be carefully thought through in terms of the narrative that may surround it in the future, explained Susie. “Are we allowing for spaces that can be used positively, potentially be developed or could be possible public open spaces?” The company has also undertaken analysis on how spaces beneath viaducts, for example, can be utilised for community or commercial use. “When we think of viaducts, we often think of those within a green setting, but they also occur in semi-urban and urban locations and can provide a landmark for a city.

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Consultants have been looking at this globally and we’re trying to pick up on the best thinking around that,” added Susie. Landscape preservation The HS2 project covers some areas of high-quality landscape, such as the Chilterns, that needed to be preserved rather than improved, explained Christoph. “We need to appreciate that it’s about making sure that we are impacting this area as little as possible and making sure that the conservation aspect is preserved.” For example, a tunnel under the Chilterns will run for around 16km. Where the tunnel emerges, extensive new planting will reflect its surroundings and new woodlands will link with existing ones. Similarly, more than half of the London to Birmingham route will be below surface level, with tunnels and cuttings. As it is such a huge project, Christoph noted that it is important that the approach taken by the HS2 design team adapts with the local situation. For example, more than 40 di erent species of tree are being grown, including species that are native to each area. “Sometimes it’s about conservation, sometimes it’s about the transformation of stations and sometimes it’s about enhancement and restoration.” Planting Planting design will replicate patterns of the area, and where practicable, local materials and styles will be selected to enhance landscape settings and recreate locally distinctive landscape features. Speaking about the planting design, Susie said: “The planting has to be responsive to the context, but there does have to be a consistency of quality of approach. The Design Vision sits on top of that. In many situations, we are looking at a bespoke approach – this is because it is the most cohesive

7 solution that works better than just doggedly following a set guideline.” Christoph also described how one goal was to link up design and planting through translocation. “Planting will link up disparate pieces of dislocated land and give them a greater continuous link.” Another consideration is the fact that during the construction phase, the company is dealing with 130 million tonnes of excavated material. The guide is to re-use 90% of that material within the project. View from the train How the landscape is perceived from the train is a central part of the design process. “The passenger as well as HS2’s neighbours are very much at the centre of the design and will remain so,” said Christoph. “We’re dealing with competing objectives which need to be carefully balanced.” HS2 has been using the latest technology, including VR simulations, to explore how landscape features can enhance the passenger experience. So, while the project is far from completion, landscape design is already playing an important role in creating the new rail network.

“SOMETIMES IT’S ABOUT CONSERVATION, SOMETIMES IT’S ABOUT THE TRANSFORMATION OF STATIONS AND SOMETIMES IT’S ABOUT ENHANCEMENT AND RESTORATION”

1 Small Dean viaduct and Wendover Green south tunnel portal 2 Curzon Street station – front view 3 Small Dean viaduct 4 Curzon Street station exterior 5 River Colne crossing 6 Route over Harefield lakes 7 Small Dean viaduct 8 Curzon Street station interior visualisation All images ©HS2 Ltd

HS2 Ltd

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High Speed Two (HS2) Limited is the company developing and promoting the UK’s new high speed rail network. It is a publicly funded nondepartmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Transport. The company began operations in January 2009 and currently employs more than 1,600 people, with the majority of staff working at its headquarters in Birmingham. W: www.hs2.org.uk

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06/11/2019 14:52


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PORTFOLIOS P34 The Green Heart, University of Birmingham Churchman Thornhill Finch

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Project name The Green Heart – University of Birmingham Client The University of Birmingham Project value £12m Size of project 50,000m2 Landscape architect Churchman Thornhill Finch Structural engineers Arup Main contractor Willmott Dixon Services engineer Couch Perry Wilkes Architect Associated Architects Lighting design Speirs + Major Furniture Bramhall 1840 1 2 3 4

View from amphitheatre Amphitheatre area ‘Old Joe’ clock tower view Under bench lighting detail All photographs ©India Hobson and Magnus Edmondson

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PORTFOLIO

THE GREEN HEART UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM Churchman Thornhill Finch

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he ‘Green Heart’ project is a striking new public realm space at the centre of the University of Birmingham’s historic campus. Designed by landscape architects Churchman Thornhill Finch, the development covers five hectares, and involved the removal of the 1950s library building, as well as re-establishing focus on the 1920s clocktower. The scheme marks a new chapter in the evolving fabric of the campus which has continued to change over the last century, reflecting new trends within the higher education landscape. The resulting space is a subtly-detailed, high-quality environment for the centre piece and talking point of the 1900s redbrick university campus. eaturing a new bridge and a biologically filtered water feature, the project provides a new model for

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4 higher education landscapes. Speaking about the project, director Chris Churchman says: “We’re really pleased with the outcome at the University of Birmingham. The quality of workmanship and materials has been incredibly high.” The space is fully inclusive in terms of access, with multilevel circulation as a major part of the design – a strategy that led to the introduction of the new pedestrian bridge. Being fully Wi-Fi enabled, the development also embraces new technology and ideas, including energy generating paving to recharge mobile devices as well as charging sockets within street furniture. Working with lighting specialist Spiers and Major, the company has created a 24/7 environment for the student community. High levels of illumination are achieved using discretely located fittings hidden under benches and within planters. The scheme includes a subterranean café designed by Associated Architects, and has strong biodiversity credentials, including a purpose designed Swift Tower by 51 Architecture. Scheme description The Green Heart project celebrates both the legacy and the future of the University of Birmingham campus. Established around the historic axis of Joseph Chamberlain’s clock tower and Aston Webb’s range

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of academic buildings, the development also embraces new technology and ideas. The university adopted a radical strategy by removing the 1950s library building which had previously truncated the main axis, opening up five hectares of public realm at the heart of the campus. The new space provides a more impressive setting for the other notable buildings, including Sir Philip Dowson’s 1960s Muirhead Tower and Arup’s Metallurgy and Materials building. Rather than imposing a new axis on the space, the Churchman proposal creates a series of sub enclosures along a central corridor.

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Sustainability Sustainability is at the heart of the design, informing the overall spatial strategy and the detailing of seats, balustrades and paving. With increasing student numbers, all higher education establishments have had to take a more radical approach to maximizing use of their campuses. With a move away from the traditional class/lecture theatre-based methods of teaching, all learning environments are becoming more fluid and flexible. With a fully Wi- i enabled space arguably an expectation rather than an exception access to learning tools is now something that can take place anytime, anywhere. Making the best use of outdoor spaces reduces the pressure on internal teaching spaces, allowing the entire campus to play an educational role. The Green Heart also provides a test bed for trialling new ideas and strategies, particularly related to environmental issues. Churchman Thornhill inch designers worked with the university’s Birmingham Institute of orest Research (BI oR), a group with a primary focus on the e ects of global warming on native forests, but which also has an interest in the ability of green infrastructure to mitigate the e ects of pollution in an urban environment. Other sustainable features of the scheme include rain gardens as an alternative to conventional drainage. Planting has been shaped around species that attract pollinators, but the principally-native palette has been futureproofed by adding species that withstand rising temperatures and low rainfall. Numerous bird and bat boxes have been added, along with a purpose-designed bat/swift tower, which emits bat and swift sounds to attract potential inhabitants, and then has video surveillance to monitor uptake. A stepped water rill uses natural

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10 filtration through planting and gravel beds, increasing the biodiversity on campus. While the site is well illuminated, all luminaires use LE s, so power input and maintenance demands are minimal. Inclusive access ully inclusive access is a key driver behind the overall design concept, and is the main influence behind many of the key features. espite covering an m level change, ease of accessibility across the entire site area is comfortably achieved by the introduction of a high-level route, including a bridge which circumnavigates the space, descending 5m from the orth Gate and Muirhead Tower down to the threshold of the new library. This allows all sta and students to move quickly and easily between all corners of the project, without using stairs or lifts, although these facilities exist if people prefer to use them. This has been a significant improvement over the previous arrangement where ramps and steps were regularly encountered. Movement for the partially-sighted and blind is facilitated by the incorporation of tapping edges, while all steps are fitted with corduroy, contrasting tonal

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nosings and handrails are all lit. isabled parking is provided but only small numbers at key locations. A variety of seats, most fitted with high backs and armrests, mean that those with mobility restrictions can rest and enjoy the same outdoor benefits as able-bodied students and sta . Engagement uring the design process, all sta and students were given the opportunity to share views about the preferred outcome of the development. The students indicated that it should be green, and should reflect the heritage of campus. Since its inception, the Green Heart has become a hub for cultural activities, including the launch of the Green Heart estival, which is a series of events that reflect the seasonal changes in the space over the forthcoming year. It has already hosted various events, such as, 500 members of the Muslim community used the main central lawn for their Iftar, and another 4,000 attended a Prom Concert there. The space is used regularly for activities, such as yoga classes and a small sta running club named The Green Heart Runners.

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Handrail detail Oak tree in front of new library Detail of the rain gardens Planting detail Rain gardens leading to library ‘Old Joe’ at dusk All photographs ©India Hobson and Magnus Edmondson

Churchman Thornhill Finch Churchman Thornhill Finch aims to create sustainable, resilient landscapes that meet people’s present needs and those of the future. The company aims to challenge traditional landscape thinking by allowing the unique qualities of a site to speak, while looking to the future and harnessing the latest technologies for greater effect and efficiencies. W: churchmanthornhillfinch.co.uk

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PORTFOLIO

CATOR PARK

KIDBROOKE VILLAGE, LONDON HTA Design LLP

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idbrooke Village is one of London’s most significant new housing-led developments a £1bn regeneration transforming the area into a new community. This project is in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the Greater London Authority. HTA esign worked across multiple phases of the landscape and public realms of the development, where almost 5,000 new homes are being delivered by Berkeley. This included the redesign of the .1ha Cator Park, carried out in collaboration with the London Wildlife Trust. HTA’s brief was to prototype Berkeley’s commitments to onsite biodiversity net gain, create a park that engages a diverse audience of residents and the wider community, and sustainably recycle

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30,000m3 of demolition arisings to avoid this being sent o site to landfill. The company responded to the brief with a landscape-led vision for Cator Park and the wider idbrooke illage, proposing a mosaic of varied habitat, topography and biophilic spaces, including lakes, Su S, wetlands, meadows, open amenity and wild spaces. The proposals have been developed to touch lightly on the existing landscape. ew ranges of high mounds have been designed around groups of existing trees and problem’ wet areas of the park will be transformed into reed beds. rawing upon the history of a lost river that crossed the site and from where the village takes its name (the Lower id Brooke), a new chalk stream still has traces of the ancient waterway as a dry chalk

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PORTFOLIO

stream wending its way from the north to the south end of the park. The chalk stream forms the backbone of the landscape approach, connecting the existing waterbodies with braided streams and a dry riverbed, which acts as a path and invites the public to discover and interact with the natural environment. It transforms an existing underused parkland into a biodiverse park for people and wildlife, supporting the network of green infrastructure beyond the site boundaries, o ering social places for the local community to grow. At the highest and most northerly point of the park, and at the source of the chalk stream, HTA has created a 3,800m2 wild play space creating a biophilic experience “for children aged 0 to 100”.

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Design brief HTA was given a brief to build three distinct play areas in the setting and decided to make kite shaped towers as that design provides greater play area than a conventional cone shaped tower. The towers were clad in the most ecologically sustainable way available and the company used as much reclaimed and recycled materials as possible. Everything was sourced and/or produced within England. The stag oak/oak cladding and the natural log crossings found in the swale were sourced from an FSC-managed woodland in Oxford. HTA Design worked closely with APES (Adventure Playground Engineers) who have also delivered the

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Project Cator Park North Location Kidbrooke Village, Greenwich Client Berkeley East Thames Architect/landscape architect HTA Design LLP Completed date June 2019 Size of project 3.5ha

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1 Wild play space 2 Cator Park concept image 3 Lake featuring new biodiverse planting 4 Natural log crossings 5 The dry chalk stream Photographs ©HTA Design LLP and Berkeley Homes

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Olympic Park play area. Local children have designed a cast iron ‘stepping stone’ trail made from clay reliefs they created with APES. Reusable materials were used throughout the construction, including climbing frames made from repurposed standing deadwood trees, and climbing walls and benches made from greenheart groynes – which themselves were once redundant Thames jetties. The timbers for the climbing wall – reclaimed Jarrah (tropical hardwood) – were sourced from a British rail track. The stepping logs and some of the swale crossings and all the benches are from Woolwich Pier (which was demolished recently). Most of the swings, fixings and fittings are locally sourced and made by APES by recycled materials

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8 wherever possible. Yorkstone outcrops and climbing walls enclose the space comfortably, and bespoke natural play towers create a dramatic focus to the green space.

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The vision The project returns nature to the city and challenges the perception that urban brownfield development cannot contribute to the wider ecological and biodiversity network. This is all while creating successful outdoor spaces for the community. Not only has nature returned but the parkland transformation has also received an overwhelmingly positive response from residents. This new 8.1ha park at the centre of the development will o er a legacy for the local community and London that will bring people together and form a sense of identity. The first two out of the four phases were completed in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

6 Climbing wall and rope tangle 7 Play in a natural environment 8 Cator Park illustrative masterplan Photographs ©HTA Design LLP and Berkeley Homes

HTA Design LLP HTA Design LLP is an awardwinning collaborative design studio, with offices in London, Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh. The company employs 200 staff across architecture, landscape design, planning, urban design, sustainability and communications. HTA delivers high quality homes across all tenures and housing types. W: www.hta.co.uk

www.futurearc.co.uk

07/11/2019 13:09


Palmstead Soft Landscape Workshop Wednesday 22 January 2020 Ashford International Hotel (Kent)

‘Thinking Outside the Pot’ How we can work both together and within our own businesses towards a more sustainable, carbon neutral future... To find out all about the day and to book your tickets visit:

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06/11/2019 11:46


INTERNATIONAL PORTFOLIO

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PARQUE CENTRAL VALENCIA

Gustafson Porter + Bowman

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Client Valencia Parque Central Project duration 2011 to 2019 (first phase) Size 11.5ha (first phase) 23ha (total park) Budget 1 m (first phase) Team Joint venture Gustafson Porter Bowman, Grupotec, ova Ingenier a and Borgos Pieper Landscape architect and lead designer Gustafson Porter Bowman Project management ova Ingenier a Civil, structural, M&E engineers Grupotec Architect Borgos Pieper Water feature designer ML Water eature esign Soil consultant Tim O’Hare Associates Lighting Claude R. Engle IV 1 Panderola Fountain 2 Looking north across the park 3 Refurbished Alqueria in the Flower Garden 4 Refurbished Ruzafa Train Shed in the Orchard Garden 5 View from the Flower Garden 6 Children playing in the Xitxarra Fountain Photographs ©Richard Bloom

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new urban park in alencia, Spain, features a series of multi-level gardens created as a series of large bowls’ formed from sculpted landforms. Taking inspiration from the region’s traditional ceramics, the distinctive bowls define the six areas of the park the Children’s Garden, the Romantic Garden, the lower Garden, the Orchard Garden and the emetrio Ribes Arts Pla a and its Panderola fountain. The first phase of the Parque Central development provides a new green space for a range of age groups and community uses. Landscape architect Gustafson Porter Bowman has completed the first phase (11.5ha) of Parque Central (total 23ha) that has been built on land that used to be occupied by railway lines and industrial land. The project was won in international competition in 2011, when Gustafson Porter Bowman formed a joint venture with alencia-based companies ova Ingenier a and Grupotec engineers, and Barcelonabased architects Borgos Pieper. Speaking about the project, athryn Gustafson, founding partner of Gustafson Porter Bowman, said We decided to design a park of bowls uniting the cultural bowls of the ceramic tradition and the natural bowls of the Albufera landscape. I love the park because it looks like alencia. Mary Bowman, partner at the company, added alencia is a Mediterranean city like no other, with a rich history of agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture, not to mention its trade history and history of artisanal and artistic pursuits. I believe we have been successful in

capturing the unique qualities of alencia, delivering a park that is evocative, stimulating, and full of unexpected sensory experiences. The landscape design of Parque Central reflects alencia’s history as a major trading and cultural centre and its location between a number of ecological habitats. A range of materials typical of alencia feature in the design, including marble, granite, and Calatorao limestone. The colourful planting palette also draws upon the region’s flora and fauna. The vegetation strategy is based on the concept of creating ones representing the natural and cultural landscapes of the region.

6 The park includes 1,000 trees, 5,000 bushes and 70 herb species which are all native to the area or are varieties of native plants or non-invasive plants adapted to the Mediterranean climate. i erent types of vegetation (trees, shrubs, carpets and flowers) are included to characterise each bowl and provide a distinct character and appearance. Inspired by a poem by alencian writer Ausi s March Aigua plena de seny’ (water full of wisdom) water is one of the main design elements at Parque Central. or example, at each entrance of the

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INTERNATIONAL PORTFOLIO

7 park, visitors are greeted by a water feature that filters into a canal. Parque Central also features a progressive sustainable drainage strategy, where the series of landformed bowls collect rainwater and subsequently drain the water into a buried centralised reservoir that treats and recycles water back to the city. eveloped over the course of eight years, the first phase of the park connects various neighbourhoods that were previously separated by the railway tracks and terminus. It is part of a larger project that, when completed, will see the city’s main train lines relocated underground to free up a total of ha of land, transforming the space. The completed 23ha park will reintroduce biodiversity to the area, create new public space, provide cultural and office facilities, reverse physical

8 and social segregation, improve the quality and supply of water as well as increase general mobility and accessibility for the surrounding residential neighbourhoods. The Parque Central project sits in alencia’s long history of a city reinventing itself through large-scale urban development projects. The park is considered one of the city’s most significant urban redevelopments undertaken since the 1 70s, when the riverbed of the Turia River was reimagined as a spine of green space in response to alencia’s serious flooding issues.

9 7 Flower Garden and Ravatxol Fountain 8 Green wall entrance to Children’s Garden 9 Winning competition render of the 23ha park (2011) ©Gustafson Porter + Bowman 10 Parque Central canal Photographs ©Richard Bloom

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Gustafson Porter + Bowman is an award-winning landscape architecture practice that has received public acclaim for creating authentically engaging spaces within a global portfolio. The development of the company’s design work has continuously pushed the boundaries of what constitutes the field of landscape design and is known for its sensual and sculptural features. Established in 1997, Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s designs draw inspiration from the specific qualities of places and are characterised by the use of advanced computation tools in the development of topographical landforming. W: www.gp-b.com

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06/11/2019 15:09


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06/11/2019 17/09/2019 11:49 11:22


MATERIALS P46 Enhanced Wood Kebony

P50 Street Furniture Woodscape

MATERIAL FOCUS

KEBONY

An environmentally friendly and cost-effective option – Kebony produces an enhanced wood and is underpinned by proven timber modification technologies

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eveloped in orway, ebony o ers a sustainable alternative to endangered tropical hardwood and treated wood. Its technology enhances non-durable wood species to give them similar characteristics to hardwoods. ebony wood is durable and designed for a variety of applications, including decking and cladding. Over time, ebony’s treated timbers acquire an attractive silver-grey patina. It is also protected against fungi, rot and other wood-destroying micro-organisms, meaning that it is suitable for use in wet, windswept locations as well as in hot tropical climates. ully compliant with E Timber legislation, ebony’s patented technology is an environmentally friendly process where sustainably sourced wood species are impregnated with a liquid mixture based on furfuryl alcohol, produced from agricultural crop waste. With the addition of heat, the furfuryl polymer is permanently grafted into the wood cell wall, improving durability and dimensional stability. This process removes the need for chemical treatments and prolongs the wood’s lifespan.

MAIN BENEFITS • Real wood with enhanced and strengthened cell structure • Develops a natural patina after exposure to sun and rain • Hardness level increased to hardwood levels • Increased stability – swelling and shrinkage reduced by 40 to 60% • Outdoor lifetime warranty for 30 years • Low maintenance, no additional treatment needed beyond normal cleaning • High resistance against fungi, rot and other wood destroying micro-organisms • Toxin-free • Eco-technology – bio-based liquid used for Kebony technology • Sustainable sources – raw material only from sustainably managed forests, all suppliers hold certificates

P53 Right Soils for Podium Landscapes Tim O’Hare

P56 Paving Portrush, Northern Ireland

P58 Wildflower How wellbeing is enhanced by biodiversity www.futurearc.co.uk

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06/11/2019 16:39


FOCUS ON KEBONY

CASE STUDY FJORD CITY, OSLO Oslo’s Fjord City regeneration project demonstrates sustainable design with Kebony decking

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striking waterfront regeneration project in Oslo has showcased the durable qualities of Kebony’s products. The downtown waterfront, located in the centre of Norway’s capital, has begun its transformation into a new cultural and social hub with the completion of the new sea bath in Sørenga. All public areas have been designed to be aesthetically pleasing but also long-lasting and environmentally friendly. Sustainable Kebony was selected as the chosen material for the decking surrounding the sea bath and throughout the park. The furniture is also made using Kebony and is built into the deck itself as an integral part of the structure. Beyond environmental

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concerns, Kebony was chosen to enhance the modern aesthetic and complement the restrained colour pallet of the development with its dappled silver-grey patina, which has changed over time due to natural weathering. The park and bathing complex features a 190m long seawater pool with a separate children’s pool and recreation area, with stairs down to the sea. All areas are designed to be fully accessible. Mette Valen, team leader for Norway at Kebony, says of the project: “We are very happy to have been a part of such an important, large-scale development in Oslo. The finished project looks wonderful and the combination of a really clear design idea and high-quality material does a lot to

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MATERIALS

show the ambition and flair of orwegian design and innovation.” nown as jord City’, the waterfront renewal project spans from rognerkilen in the west to Sydhavna in the south. The regeneration has transformed the area into a cultural centre for the city home to the iconic Oslo Opera House and aims to reconnect the city with the sea, providing both residents and visitors with greater access to public spaces, in addition to creating new housing, recreational and commercial areas. The vast development is due to be completed in 2030, although some new districts, such as Bj rvika,

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have already seen a large proportion of regeneration work completed. Along with this, the new sea bath will provide the area 5,000 new homes and 20,000 local jobs. Beyond the provision of new homes, the area has seen significant investment in infrastructure, with a new harbour-front promenade also made from sustainable ebony wood providing space for shops, caf s and restaurants alongside a marina. The S renga area of the Bj rvika district is built on an old harbour pier, which stretches out into the jord, looking out over the water on three sides with spectacular views of the city and the Opera House.

Kebony Developed in Norway, the patented Kebony technology is an environmentally friendly process, which modifies sustainably sourced softwoods by heating the wood with a bio-based liquid. By polymerising the wood’s cell wall, the softwoods permanently take on the attributes of tropical hardwood including high durability, hardness and dimensional stability. W: www.kebony.com

www.futurearc.co.uk

06/11/2019 16:40


Soils

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Starscape Fibre Optic Lighting 01289 332900

info@starscape.co.uk

starscape.co.uk

While the long life of LEDs does make them suitable for landscaping projects, each has a finite life and the possibility of premature failure. Using fibre optics to distribute light to multiple end points from a single light source offers benefits in terms of maintenance and running costs, with the added benefit of an openended upgrade path. Starscape’s up-lights at London Westfield, Stratford use this principle.

For the latest news and updates go to

www.futurearc.co.uk

To view the full range of high quality, durable and sustainable products, visit: www.glasdon.com

GV569 Futurearc Seating Advert FINAL 10.19.indd 1 Advert template.indd 20

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MATERIALS

WOODSCAPE

A project to enhance the public realm in the World Heritage City of Bath saw Woodscape working with Macgregor Smith landscape architects

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he proposals for this Bath project focused on a transformation of the main square of SouthGate and Brunel Square outside the train station to create meaningful, engaging spaces. A range of seating and sculptural elements were introduced, expanding Bath’s iconic character and design aesthetic into newer areas of the city. Speaking about the project, Gemma Griffin, director at Macgregor Smith, said: “We’re passionate about encouraging people to interact with their surroundings and highlighting the importance of social spaces and planting within urban contexts. The SouthGate project was a real gem for us, with such an emphasis placed on the public realm – a dedication from the client to achieving the highest quality.” The central plaza within the SouthGate Centre, along with Brunel Square outside the

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main train station, were identified as places that could be more e ectively used both generally and for the many events that take place in the city throughout the year. To allow the area to be adapted for various events, the planter seats selected are designed to be portable. The key circular seat design was made up of a combination of timber slats and intricate bronze fretwork from Inspired Metal. Tom Notley, senior landscape architect at Macgregor Smith, said: “The furniture designs were all bespoke and required specific tailoring to meet the demands of the brief. Working with the right fabricators was key to achieving a successful end product.” Custom metal tubular benches were produced to wrap around a series of artificial grass mounds, mimicking the ‘combes’ that reflect the local landscape and bringing colour

and life to the space. The large plane tree at the heart of the space is the centrepiece of the design and is encircled by a hardwood tree seat with bronze fretwork text exploring the city’s special qualities. The space is finished o with lighting from within a striking bronze lantern, composed from intricate typography depicting an A to Z of ‘What Bath Means to Me’. Four large circular tree seats were produced for Brunel Square, utilising a bron e finish skirt to tie into the existing Bath design aesthetic, and durable hardwood slats with L-shaped backrest, providing ample seating space for an area with high pedestrian traffic. Ashley Tarry, sales director at Woodscape, says: “It’s always a pleasure to be part of a scheme so loved by all those involved from start to finish. www.woodscape.co.uk

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MATERIALS

FURNITUBES SEATING ADDS COMFORT

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scheme to transform a busy junction in Bournemouth town centre into a vibrant public open space features new seating by urnitubes. esigned by BCP Council the council serving Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole the new development encourages people to use the area as a social space. The central circular paving feature, which includes public art celebrating Bournemouth’s literary history, combined with step-free surfacing unifies the space. The circular theme is reinforced by the placement of curved seating around the

edge of the central paving feature and large circular patterns in the surrounding resin-bound paving. Furnitubes’ RailRoad range was chosen for the Beale Place project as it o ers wide bench platforms that can be used from both sides, with backrests for extra comfort on sections of the seating, occasional armrests to help less able-bodied people in sitting down and integrated planters. In total, five separate seating/planting configurations were supplied three being made up of three triple-seater modules (two with curved backrests) and two double-seaters providing capacity for at least 24. Additionally, even more people can be seated when the bench sections are used at the same time from both sides. These configurations would normally be supplied freestanding, but at Beale Place the pronounced fall meant that seating supports had to be set into the ground to take up the level variations. The Loop’ circular post support was installed into an 1 ground socket so that the seating can be easily removed in the future, for example for large vehicular access or to open up the space for special events. Steelwork is hot dip galvanised for maximum corrosion resistance in this maritime environment, with a green polyester powder coating on top, and timbers treated with a protective finish to delay the fading e ects of the sun. www.furnitubes.com

FURNITUBES

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major transformation of the central areas of the Lancaster niversity campus by Grant Associates included high quality landscaped spaces to provide outdoor seating and recreation areas. estre’s room benches were selected to provide seating in two of the main courtyards. A 400mm wide series of modular benches provides an opportunity for students to gather for a chat over a break or work outdoors on their laptops through the addition of several small co ee tables. The larger 00mm wide seating units provide space to view the new water feature. sing RAL 01 Pastel Green and RAL 2012 Salmon Orange, di erent identities have been designated for distinct areas. www.vestre.com

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VESTRE BENCHES TRANSFORM CAMPUS COURTYARDS

VESTRE FutureArc October/November 2019 51

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BA-Half Page (186x118) copy.pdf

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08/04/2018

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Transforming the Urban Environment C

Our range of lightweight growing substrates have been used extensively across the country to support the growing requirements for sustainable and effective green roofs.

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Light in texture with good water holding capacity. Ideal for environmentally conscious landscaping and construction projects.

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Load bearing, fertile planting medium. Enables tree root infrastructure to develop under hard urban landscapes, such as pavements.

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Intensive and Extensive available for rooftop or containerised planting projects. Lightweight with good or controlled water-holding capacity for healthy plant establishment.

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Works as a rootzone with the ArborRaft tree planting system in urban environments to protect the soil structure and ultimately protect and enhance the tree’s root growth.

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06/11/2019 15:44


MATERIALS

SELECTING SOILS

FOR PODIUMS

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In the third and final instalment of his three-part series, Tim O’Hare, principal consultant of Tim O’Hare Associates LLP, discusses how to select the right soils for podium landscapes

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or the purposes of this article, a podium landscape is any landscape that is built ‘on structure’. This includes: green roofs, raised planters, domestic gardens over basement extensions, public parks over major infrastructure and courtyard gardens over basement car parks. Benefits Podium landscapes form a significant component of many urban developments, with some projects now built entirely on structure. Developers, homeowners, local authorities, planners, landscape architects, ecologists, and other professionals all want to include more soft landscapes into urban developments. They recognise that green spaces o er many benefits • increased land value • additional amenity space (public and private) • they represent a key part of many Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

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• increased biodiversity • increased BREEAM value • urban cooling/reduced air pollution Challenges and constraints When selecting the right soils for these specific planting environments, all the normal requirements apply – aeration, drainage, water attenuation, nutrient supply and soil microbe population. However, constructing and maintaining podium landscapes comes with its own set of challenges and constraints that need to be factored into the design and specification, such as whether it features compaction resistance, easy handling ability, whether it’s weed free and sometimes low bulk density (lightweight) soils can be required. As the soils are to be placed over a new structure, the soil profile will also be brand new. This means that, once placed, the soil(s) needs to

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MATERIALS

deliver all their functions straight away – there is no time for the soil to ‘settle in’ to re-establish its structure, drainage networks and so on. The underlying slab o ers no downward drainage potential, so some form of artificial drainage is essential. Space on construction sites is always at a premium, and this also applies to any designated soft landscape areas, which are usually the last areas of the development to be completed. Consequently, they get used as access routes for workers and machinery, and for storing materials. This is often after the soils have been imported and placed, so soil compaction is a

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5 major problem. There is clearly no opportunity to pull a tractor and cultivator across these areas to decompact the soils, so compaction-resistant soils have a big advantage. Given these constraints, one thing is certain: if the wrong soils are used during construction, it is an expensive exercise to put right. British Standards The British Standards for topsoil and subsoil are often used to specify soils for podium landscapes. This is inappropriate as these standards were never intended for use in such an artificial’ environment, and many of the values set do not consider the constraints and specific requirements during the build of a podium scheme. Bespoke, project-specific specifications should be developed for the selection of appropriate topsoil, subsoil and possibly other drainage media. These should take into account the specific requirements of the new planting scheme, but also factor in properties and depths that will deal with the various constraints of the project. Soil texture The most critical soil parameter for podium landscape soil is probably its texture (particle si e distribution). High sand content soils, with narrow particle distribution, are generally the best for podium

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landscapes as they o er many benefits and few limitations. The benefits include increased compaction resistance, good porosity and drainage, and ease of handling. The benefits of high sand content soils are o set by their lower water and nutrient retention properties and their increased risk of nutrient loss by leaching. These can be mitigated by using bulky organic composts, which act as a sponge and improve nutrient retention, and mineral-based soil conditioners, such as TerraCottem niversal’. Performance criteria It is sensible to check how well any soil will perform once placed on the podium to ensure there are no last-minute surprises. or this reason, it is advisable to include performance testing criteria into the specification, including permeability and porosity (and bulk density if there are weight restrictions). Soil fertility and microbes As with any landscape scheme, soil fertility levels should be set to match the requirements of the planting scheme. Some growing media used for podium landscapes are devoid of soil microbes, which results in a sterile environment with no ability to sustain itself. Disease resistance is also greatly reduced. ust as important as fertility is the introduction of a healthy microbe population to promote sustainable nutrient recycling this is normally catered for by the inclusion of a suitable compost in the topsoil’s preparation.

4 1 Podium landscape courtyard – East Village Stratford 2 A brand new soil profile is constructed 3 Chavasse Park, Liverpool – podium landscape above an underground car park 4 Podium landscape materials 5 Compacted soils from material storage

Tim O’Hare Associates LLP Tim O’Hare, principal consultant of Tim O’Hare Associates LLP, has advised on the design and specification of soils for podium landscapes for numerous projects throughout the UK and internationally. W: www.toha.co.uk

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MATERIALS

PAVING T

PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND A £17m regeneration programme included major public realm improvements and a new train station featuring granite paving throughout

he new £5.6m Portrush train station, part of a wider revitalisation of the town, features a range of granite paving materials. Approximately 500m2 of granite materials were chosen to match the palette of materials used in the wider Portrush public realm. The new station, on Eglinton Street, features a range of materials from supplier Hardscape, including its Royal White, Nordic Yellow and Pink Pearl granite paving. Led by the Department for Communities, the new station has a contemporary design to complement the surrounding public realm works. Hardscape was involved in the overall Portrush public realm regeneration scheme designed by AECOM Belfast, working with construction firm GRAHAM and oran Consulting to ensure the correct materials were supplied. Speaking about the development, Jonny Kerr, contracts director at GRAHAM, said Portrush is one of Ireland’s most popular seaside resorts. The new station’s increased capacity will allow for further passenger and visitor growth, as well as delivering wider economic benefits to the region. Local Alliance councillor Chris McCaw said Our area has world-class scenery and tourist attractions. A new train station will potentially bring more people

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to the area and will give a far better first impression of Portrush for anyone visiting by train. The new Portrush Train Station was completed ahead of the prestigious 148th Open the world’s oldest Golf tournament – which was held in the town in July 2019. The event attracted around 1 0,000 visitors and o ered a significant opportunity to sustainably develop the economy of Portrush and the wider north coast. Along with this, there were substantial benefits to the area in regards to visitor numbers, spend and investment. Hardscape collaborated extensively regarding the public realm aspects of the other Portrush regeneration projects. The team there included Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, AECOM, The Paul Hogarth Company, MWA Partnership, P McCann and GRAHAM. Public realm works to improve the streetscape in Portrush include new granite paving, lighting and street furniture. Hardscape supplied Kobra Flamed granite, used as channels to separate the ordic ellow, Royal Grey and Pink Pearl granite mix paving area from Crystal Black granite. The mix was chosen to reflect the coastal aspects of the scheme with subtle nuances and undulations of the sand and sea close by. Other materials included Yellow Rock granite and XR Red granite blister tactiles, which were chosen for their colour and durability aspects.

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MATERIALS

Client Translink Architects Gregory Architects Contractors and engineers GRAHAM Project management team Doran Consulting, DfC and DfI

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THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF

WILDFLOWER TURF James Hewetson-Brown from Wildflower Turf Ltd presents four case studies illustrating the health and lifestyle benefits that wildflowers can bring

here are many benefits to a wildflower habitat, from aesthetics to improving biodiversity, and from pollution mitigation to sustainable drainage systems (Su S). Alongside these, the true impact of wildflowers cannot be understated when considering the contribution they also make in terms of enhancing health and wellbeing. It is no coincidence that there is evidence proving the health benefits associated with proximity and access to green space for the 2 of the ’s population now living in urban environments. The following four case studies highlight a range of ways that wildflowers are being used around the to enhance overall quality of life. (Public Health England, 2014, Health equity briefing World Bank, 2014, Urban Population (% of total).

W

ildflower Turf Ltd was involved with an episode of Love our Garden’ hosted by Alan Titchmarsh. The ethos of the show is about enriching lives through the enhancement of outdoor space, and the company donated 30m² of ative Enriched Show turf to the programme. Alan and his team of experts surprised a fellow landscape gardener with Al heimer’s by building him and his family a modern garden. Transforming the space for aniel, his wife ordan and their two young children, the priority was on ensuring that all family members had a suitable outdoor space to enjoy. With the knowledge that wildflowers played an important role when aniel and ordan were married, a designated wildflower meadow area was incorporated into the design.

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CASE STUDY 1

LOVE YOUR GARDEN www.futurearc.co.uk

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MATERIALS

CASE STUDY 2

PARKINSONS.ME THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY GARDEN

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Photographs ©Victoria Louise Photography

ocated in West Lockinge, Oxfordshire, this community garden project was officially opened in September 2018. Originally beginning life as a small area at the rear of an allotment, the Parkinson’s.Me Therapeutic Community Garden now covers two-thirds of an acre. Behind the project is Ewan Stutt, founder of the charity Parkinsons.Me, and he is joined by a group of committed volunteers. Ewan himself was just 41 when he was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease. Inspired by his own personal experience, he conceived the notion of a dedicated space that could be enjoyed by others with the condition and their families, as well as the wider community. Ensuring the designated area blended with its surrounding while maintaining its therapeutic value was key to the design. The Community Garden team selected Wildflower Earth™ Landscape 34 for the project and the resulting array of wildflowers has provided colour, interest and visual stimulation.

CASE STUDY 3

CORNWALL COUNCIL GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT

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longside incumbent contractors Cormac, Wildflower Turf Ltd assisted Cornwall Council to deliver part of the council’s Green Infrastructure for Growth (GI4G) project. The GI4G programme will see £3.5m invested in public areas, improving them through the inclusion of species-rich habitats. The environmental funding focus aims to create a nature-rich habitat across an area equivalent to 35 rugby pitches, with the bolstering of local health and wellbeing as key goals.

In consultation with environmental specialists from Exeter University and with guidance and two days of training supplied by the team from Wildflower Turf Ltd, Cornwall Council established a series of wildflower trial sites during late summer/autumn 2017. The project has also just been awarded Overall Winner in CIRIA’s BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards 2019.

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CASE STUDY 4

ALDER HEY CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

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lder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool opened in October 2015 and is Europe’s only hospital inside a park. Following consultations with the hospitalised children and their families, the architects of Alder Hey incorporated green space into their building design, providing access to nature. With open-air play decks surrounded by wildflowers on each level of the hospital, children experience an enhanced quality of life connecting them more directly with plants and nature. Wildflower Turf Ltd grew and supplied 5,000m² of a bespoke blend of Wildflower Roof Turf to cover the roof of Alder Hey. The unique and striking architectural design emphasises the green space and provides a calm and tranquil environment for the children and visitors. The access to play areas surrounded by wildflowers and wildlife, natural light, fresh air and parkland views has fulfilled the objectives of this green infrastructure project.

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THE WILD FLOWER SPECIALIST ENDORSED BY ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, KEW

Uniquely enhanced with

Hydropor

TM

for improved moisture retention

Easily create beautiful bio-diverse wild flower meadows Meadowscape ProTM is an enhanced pre-seeded growing medium for professional wild flower establishment developed through extensive research over many years at Wildflower Turf Limited. Enriched with Hydropor™, this unique formula supports water retention and soil stability, delivering outstanding results in a range of environments.

• Limited site preparation required • Low time and machinery costs • Exceptional levels of seed germination

For more information: Tel: 01256 771222 Email: wildflower@wildflowerturf.co.uk ANOTHER GREAT PRODUCT FROM WILDFLOWER TURF LIMITED

@wildflowerturf www.linkedin.com/company/wildflower-turf-ltd www.instagram.com/wildflowerturf.co.uk/ SUPPLIED 80,000M² OF WILDFLOWER TURF TO THE 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES AND QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK

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FutureArc October/November 2019  

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