OUTSIDE // SCALE AN INTROD U CT IO N TO O U R LARG E P ROJECTS
L ARGE S CAL E PROJECTS
DISCOVERY PARK KENT
COPENHAGEN ARENA DENMARK
WOODFORD AERODROME CHESHIRE
KIRKSTALL FORGE LEEDS
BATTERSEA PARK EAST LONDON
BROCKHOLE VISITOR CENTRE L AKE DISTRICT
AIRPORT CITY MANCHESTER
SURF SNOWDONIA NORTH WALES
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At Planit, our quest to explore further the concept of ‘scale’, and in turn how we define it (and it us), came out of those many conversations Landscape Architects seem to have when people ask: ‘S o, wh a t d o you a ct u ally do?’ Having become programmed to reel off a list of ‘services’ (‘We do masterplanning; urban design; public realm etc…’) we instead started saying to people: ‘ We l ike to wor k a t s cale’ – which we do, all scales – big and small; city and village; urban and countryside; ambitious and modest. After some bemused looks, people became engaged, and numerous, far more interesting conversations followed. We then started to look back through our projects and realised we are on to something. All well and good, but as Landscape Architects we are able to manipulate and benefit from another form of scale - that which others in the built environment cannot – time-scale. The ability for us to use living material as the fundamental building blocks of our palette is what sets us apart from the Architects and Engineers. Tending a thousand Pine trees in the Cheshire countryside to use in the heart of the city two years later; bringing back the United Kingdom’s first International Garden Festival site after 25 years locked up and recolonized by nature – it is the passage of time and the stewardship of our projects that makes us want to keep going back.
The concept of designing ‘outside’ is a simple one – after all we are Landscape Architects first and foremost. But the statement took on more significance towards the end of 2013, when we decided to ‘retire’ the use of the phrase ‘public realm’ in the studio. Firstly it doesn’t really mean anything to the man in the street; secondly it sounds like a toilet. Yet it has become the phrase of choice when Landscape Architects and Urban Designers try to describe what they do in the urban context – essentially the streets and squares between buildings. What we are doing is much more than that though - quite often WE tell the buildings where they should go. In December 2012 we won our first Landscape Institute Award for the Brockhole Jetty project in the Lake District National Park. It’s tiny – small footprint, minuscule fee, big impact and probably one of our most treasured achievements. Around the same time we were working on plans for the biggest job we have ever tackled, at Penrhos on the Welsh island of Anglesey. So there we have it – big and small. As we looked back through the years, we realised this scale of scales is the hallmark of our story. We want to tell our story through an exploration of scale, in the context of ‘the outside’. This book is a collection of some of our recent ‘large scale’ projects. As with the ‘public realm’ we want to steer away from words like ‘masterplanning’ or ‘urban design’ – they sound overly technical and overly arrogant! They embody the full range of our skills or ‘services’ but more importantly they demonstrate our ability to listen, collaborate and inspire.
DISCOVERY PARK KENT W H Y W O ULD YOU GO TO S AN DW IC H?
This is the site where Viagra was discovered, having been the UK home to Pfizer pharmaceuticals for over 50 years. The problem was that, try as they might Pfizer didn’t discover anything else – despite spending one billion dollars on the most advanced laboratories and support facilities in Europe. When in 2011 Pfizer decided to cut their losses, 3000 jobs disappeared – almost overnight. The site became a ghost-town, and the effect on the neighbouring town of Sandwich was pretty much the same. As is the case when you rely on one major employer, the period following their exit is akin to that of mourning. Who comes to save the day? Will anyone? What are the chances of another Pfizer waiting in the wings? Nil. Wind the clock forward twelve months and a group of investors snapped up the entire campus for a song. They spent the next year ‘repurposing’ and adapting the best buildings, demolishing those that were past their best – operations they had a pretty good track record in. But a site of this scale needs a big plan – and we have worked with Discovery Park Limited and Dover District Council to craft it. To the initial horror of Dover Council, our answer was to introduce a host of new uses, including a significant number of new homes. Our vision is to see Sandwich and Discovery Park as one ‘Total Place’ – driven by new forms of innovation, that have defined it over the last century. Despite the whole site being in the flood plain, and internationally protected Water Voles pretty much everywhere, the plan is universally supported – from the town council to DCLG, everyone wants to see Discovery Park flourish.
LIVERPOOL WATERS CO M PL ET I N G T H E I CON I C WATERFRONT
The largest single consent within a World Heritage site – and if you read the architectural press, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a terrible imposition destined to cause great harm. We would strongly disagree. We were originally appointed by Peel Holdings to prepare Public Realm design guidance for their £5.5 billion regeneration of Liverpool’s northern docks - known as Liverpool Waters. Drawing upon our knowledge of Liverpool we began to examine, test and amplify the important physical links between the proposals and the surrounding neighbourhoods. We conceived public spaces and a movement infrastructure that will not just connect east-west, but also link the district back to the City Centre. During the next twelve months, and following numerous Design Reviews with CABE it became apparent that a consistent narrative to Liverpool Waters ‘the place’ was lacking, and so working in close collaboration with a host of public sector agencies we were commissioned to prepare a Building Characterisation and Precedents Study (BCPS). This has been the single-most important strategic document we have ever prepared and required us not just to investigate the rationale, composition and history of the proposals, but also research the DNA of what makes Liverpool the great City it is – in other words demonstrate that the inspiration behind the Liverpool Waters masterplan is ‘in and of’ Liverpool, embodying the physical and philosophical components of ‘Liverpool-ness’. The World Heritage context and concerns raised by English Heritage have led us to undertake an incredibly deep and robust analysis not just of the City of Liverpool, but a number of exemplary precedent cities that Liverpool Waters should strive to emulate in respect of design quality benchmarking, relationship with retained historic assets and creating or reinforcing a ‘World Class’ destination. From HafenCity in Hamburg to Hammerby in Sweden and across the Atlantic to Chicago, we have been able to set the bar for Liverpool Waters, and in turn the northward growth of the City Centre over the next 30 years.
PROJECT NAME IMAGE L ABEL
KING EDWARD TRIANGLE
THE NORTHERN DOCKS A NEW RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBOURHOOD FOR LIVERPOOL
CLARENCE DOCK TIGHT GRAINED MIXED USE NEIGHBOURHOOD
7 HECTARES OF NEW PUBLIC PARKS FOR LIVERPOOL CENTRAL PARK AND PROSPECT PARK
NELSON DOCK BRAMLEYMOORE DOCK
ACTIVITY IN THE WATER, FLOATING PONTOONS AND LEISURE USES ANIMATE THE DOCKS ONCE MORE
SALISBURY DOCK TRAFALGAR DOCK
CLARENCE GRAVING DOCKS RECLAIMED AS A MONUMENTAL PUBLIC SPACE FOR LIVERPOOL
CENTRAL DOCKS SECONDARY TALL BUILDING CLUSTER
INTERNATIONAL CRUISELINER TERMINAL ARRIVAL POINT FOR 100,000’s OF VISITORS INTO LIVERPOOL EVERY YEAR
EAST WATERLOO DOCK
SHANGHAI TOWER LIVERPOOL’S TALLEST WATERFRONT BUILDING
THE ‘THREE GRACES’ AND PIER HEAD
PRINCES DOCK PRINCES HALF TIDE DOCK
WEST WATERLOO DOCK
A NEW FOCAL CULTURAL BUILDING FOR LIVERPOOL
HISTORIC JETTY RESTORED AS A PUBLIC SPACE FOR LIVERPOOL
NEW BUILDINGS COMPLETE PRINCES DOCK
COPENHAGEN ARENA DENMARK T H E LA ST P I E CE O F T H E JI GS A W
The Scandinavians are admired the world over for their foresight and ability to plan decades ahead, irrespective of changes in political governance. They are also pretty good at providing infrastructure to make things happen – a lesson we have to learn in the UK. The creation of the new district of Ørestad, 5km south east of the centre of Copenhagen is one such example. We are part of the winning team to design a new £120 million 15,000 seat multi-purpose arena in Copenhagen, Denmark. The team is led by Danish architects 3XN, who have over the last two years become great friends and ‘sponsors’ locally. The competition ran for a grueling 18-months, and attracted entries from across the globe, with the final short list made up of the 3XN and Planit-IE team, Foster + Partners and Grimshaw with CF Moller. Our proposal according to the judges was by far the most ‘Scandinavian’ which translates to ‘democratic’ and ‘humble’ – conceived of the place and the community, not driven by the uses within. Over the last year we have worked with 3XN and Arup to develop the designs to create a worldclass arena set in a vibrant and attractive environment at the heart of the emerging Ørestad community. We are thrilled to be part of this winning team and we are striving not only create a stunning arena but to set it within a diverse and inspiring public park which will operate from day one and grow and mature for years to come.
PENRHOS LEISURE VILLAGE ANGLESEY R ED I S COV E R I N G N AT U RAL B E AUTY
The Penrhos development on Anglesey is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a lasting legacy on the island that provides a short-term function, with a long term sustainable ambition. The shared vision is to create a new leisure facility and holiday accommodation together with residential areas within the thee sites that comprise the Penrhos Estate – namely, the Penrhos Country Park, Cae Glas and Kingsland. Natural context is key – the green infrastructure across all three sites are a main component of the Holy Island character – in particular the presence of Broadleaf woodland and the coastlines habitats. Given the difficult climactic conditions, detailed assessment of tree loss and low impact methods for construction of lodges and infrastructure have guided the form and layout of the proposals – inextricably these are also linked to the LIVA process of visual and landscape character assessment and have helped to define the extent of new woodland proposed and identified areas of extreme sensitivity to be avoided. The historic parkland estate of Penrhos is lost under sprawling, self-seeded woodland and scrub vegetation, whilst elements of walled gardens, follies and outbuildings lie derelict and often dilapidated. Reference to historic plans shows a strong network of enclosed
spaces, vistas and avenues including a racecourse within an enclosed area now know as the Quillet! A key inspiration has been to rediscover this underlying estate, using new built form and landscape elements to reinforce the old pathway alignments, reuse the remaining follies and outbuildings for leisure uses and to help define the character of the new facilities. At the heart of the estate, will lie a reborn manor house acting as centrepiece with new retail, spa and administration uses. A key goal of all the development is to provide an overall increase in publicly accessible open space, securing access to the coastline, access into previously private land, to preserve and enhance the ecological value of the land and ensure long term management and maintenance of these important sites. The initial purpose of the development will be to service the accommodation requirements of the nuclear build program, and then be reconfigured to create a high quality leisure facility with associated recreational facilities. In total the facility will provide over 600 accommodation units, including a mix of chalets, headland lodges, estate cottages and new hotel.
PENRHOS SITE CONSTRAINTS & OPPORTUNITIES
WOODFORD AERODROME CHESHIRE W H AT I S OP E N N E SS ?
As the national debate on how we increase delivery of much needed housing land rages, its epicentre would appear to be around the leafy towns of south Cheshire and Manchester, often portrayed in the press as the ‘Footballer Belt’. Within this swathe of urban edge are a number of sites that have found themselves within the precious Green Belt, yet the reason for having them in it has long since been lost. The former British Aerospace factory and airfield at Woodford near Stockport is perhaps the most striking example. For over a century, since before A.V. Roe constructed the first WW1 trainer bomber, Woodford and classic British aircraft have been synonymous – perhaps none more so than the gargantuan Vulcan. The size and scale of this plane demanded a runway and factory of giant proportions, and so the ‘Classic X’ of the Woodford Aerodrome was constructed, making a mark on the Cheshire countryside that would be visible from miles around. How then do you square off what is an incongruous element within the Green Belt, with the almost philosophical planning concept of ‘Openness’? Well firstly you debate it for over six months, then build a massive 3D digital model of the surrounding landscape, THEN you begin the masterplanning process. Through adopting this approach you can demonstrate that 1000 homes in the Green Belt will increase openness, and in turn repair the character of the landscape. Add to these 20 hectares of public parks, a network of street swales, Heritage Centre and a new home for one of the last remaining Vulcans, and we believe you have the ingredients for a great place to live and bring up your family. What is more, despite the understandable concerns of some residents as to the scale of the proposal, most agree it will make Woodford a better place. Its not change that scares people, its ‘bad change’ - but until volume house builders up their game, we will have to rely on more schemes like Woodford – where great infrastructure can help bring about ‘good change’.
KIRKSTALL FORGE WEST YORKSHIRE CO LO NI S I N G N AT U R E
Having spent a decade reclaiming Liverpool’s International Garden Festival site, we have begun to apply those skills again at the site of England’s oldest forge, at Kirkstall to the west of Leeds. Here again we have a site that has lain empty for decades and over that time nature has reclaimed it, creating a character and patina that must be retained where ever possible. This will always be a community on the ‘edge’ – edge of City; edge of River; edge of nature. It is clear that ‘knitting’ the site back into the community and urban fabric will be no small task. As is often the case, this ‘knitting’ must take place around and beyond the red line, as we believe that promotion and ‘infestation’ of the site though temporary uses, guided walks, festivals and maybe even a BMX race, will be essential to it’s success. Proposed buildings should appear to be sunken in lush vegetation. New Kirkstall Forge development is located in one of the major “green fingers” that connects Leeds
to countryside. River, canal, railway and highway are all important infrastructure routes cutting through the site. These 4 strategic routes were sunken in dense vegetation. During the initial development of the site, (construction of train halt and enhancement of river banks, promenade and walking paths) we are striving to keep the character of this appearance. The River Aire flows right through the site and has shaped and modified its banks for years until it was protected by concrete and stone walls and sheet piles. After the forge closed and demolition commenced those structures were colonised by self-seeded vegetation, brought by the fast river flow. Overgrown riverbanks are a great wildlife habitat and soft contrast to protection barriers. We are proposing to use existing qualities and fabric to work with various conditions in order to create unified habitable and continuous green edges along new development.
KIRKSTALL & SURROUNDING COMMUNITY
BATTERSEA PARK EAST LONDON T H E ‘ I N V IS I B LE S I T E ’
Sandwiched between two busy main roads and bisected by an overhead rail line, not to mention consuming the footprint of an existing primary school, this is one of those sites that is a masterpiece in land assembly. What is perhaps as great a feat is the artistry with which the team, led by Fielden Clegg Bradley, have crafted a new quarter that will give a stark contrast to the emerging mass of the nearby Battersea Power Station. The Battersea Park East development lies at the western edge of the Vauxhall/ Nine Elms/ Battersea Opportunity Area (or the VNEB OA if you like acronyms). The site is located in a transitional zone that connects the very new to the more established and traditional residential neighbourhoods. The scheme has been designed to connect to its surroundings by stitching in at a range of scales – smaller individual buildings that link into the sensitive existing plots, medium scale buildings that respond to the scale of the local mansion blocks, Mount Carmel buildings and the railway viaducts, then the taller buildings that identify the location of the site, announce the western gateway to the VNEB and act as markers for the existing railway stations. Battersea Park East will open up a major new area creating a neighbourhood that will allow the existing area to enhance its character and define itself as the new heart of the area and entrance to the OA. The key design driver for the project has been to establish a sequence of main routes through the site creating linkages between the two railway stations and opening up routes from east to west. These routes find their focus in a new public square that links to both Battersea Park Road and its station providing a place that the community has been lacking. Battersea Park East will be a genuinely mixed-use development with the new school at its centre. Residential development will be complemented by both café/ restaurant and small retail use but also space for the new and established businesses to re-establish the area as a thriving working community.
BROCKHOLE VISITORS CENTRE L AKE DISTRICT A TAST E OF T H E N AT I O N AL PA RK
The plan will transform Brockhole into an exciting ‘taster’ hub for all the National Park has to offer – not just a place for old dears to take tea! The 30 acre park on the banks of Lake Windermere already attracts more than 230,000 visitors a year but we are aiming to enable Brockhole to attract 400,000 visitors a year and become financially self-sustaining by the end 2014. We fell in love with this place when we started designing the award-winning Jetty - to be involved in such a scheme of great national and international significance in one of the most beautiful places in the world is a great honour for us. Plans include restoring the historic Thomas Mawson designed Arts and Crafts garden to its former glory, developing a purpose-built watersports centre offering starter sessions, and building a brand new, all-weather visitor centre to inspire people to explore and celebrate the Lakes. All of this will add to the already popular attractions such as the Treetop Trek, pony rides, boat hire and hundreds of activities hosted by Brockhole all year round. Brockhole is the jewel in the crown for the Lake District National Park. We are excited by the potential of the masterplan because it will help raise the profile and boost the economy of the area. Our role with the National Park as client and collaborator is to attract more people to the Lake District and inspire them to explore this awe-inspiring landscape.
Re Th defi e Ar ning riv al A5
Parking / Coach Drop Off
Informal / Natural
Hide Formal Approach Focal Point
GASP Informal / Natural
CATCH PEOPLE AT THE FRONT DOOR
Informal / Natural
Reveal Focal Point
UNVEIL THE JOYS OF BROCKHOLE
Focal Point Reveal Hide
Lakeside Activity Event Venue
Classical Concert Performance
DONâ€™T LET THEM LEAVE THE LAKE DISTRICT 67
AIRPORT CITY MANCHESTER W H EN T RAN S P ORT B E COME S TRA NSFORM
They seem to be popping up all over the globe, Airport Cities – essentially a way of utilising the hundreds of hectares of under or un-used land that surrounds most airports, to contribute to the creation of an ‘Aeropolis’ – a new urban form and typology of large scale commercial aggregation. Proposals are being drawn up in all the places you would expect –Brazil; China (multitudes of them); Russia; the Middle East and of course... Manchester! Manchester’s Airport City however lies sandwiched between a number of salubrious suburbs, one or two less salubrious and the Cheshire Green Belt – a setting perhaps not comparable with the other emerging glistening ‘Aeropolis’ proposals elsewhere in the world. Yet Manchester’s proposition is likely to be more deliverable and a successful story of place-making than many of the others could wish for. Manchester Airport is owned by the City Council, as part of the Manchester Airport Group (or MAG) – it has always had ideas above its station, borne out by last year’s acquisition of Stanstead. The vision for Airport City, a 108Ha proposition was not drawn up by global starchitects or engineers, but Planit-IE in conjunction with our friends at 5Plus Architects. The global consultancies had a go, but our pitch won out – to make the Global, Local. It must have had some resonance, as a global, world-class consortium has come together to deliver it. China’s Beijing Construction Group, alongside Carillion and uber-regenerators Argent have joined Manchester City Council, MAG and the Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund to drive forward the plans for Airport City. There are many challenges ahead, from transforming car parks into a network of green and blue infrastructure that will link the operational airport to the deprived community of Wythenshawe and in turn provide its residents with global opportunities that will transform their lives. A dedicated HS2 station may well come one day, but between now and 2026 we have plenty to go at!
Planit I.E: Airport City Landscape
SURF SNOWDONIA NORTH WALES T H E PER F E CT WAV E
Give us a client who has never developed anything before, in a place where nothing else would seem to work, to design and construct something nobody has ever built... It would appear this is the perfect blend for success. The project has come together relatively quickly, yet we have been looking at options for the site for over three years. The introduction of Wavegarden to the equation was a game-changer – as it will be for Dolgarrog and North Wales. This is not another cheap and cheerful water park – it is a world-class surfing facility, able to generate the perfect 2m high wave, day in day out, all year round, catering for beginners and experts alike. We have some exciting projects on the books – but this is by far the most exciting and in closest harmony with our core values. We can’t wait to get the wet-suits on and start surfing!’ The site of the former aluminium works in Dolgarrog has lain derelict since 2006, when the Ainscough Group purchased it. Although the site has an open mixed-use local plan policy relating to it, numerous feasibility studies for lodge and outdoor recreation uses had floundered, and it was clear the creation of a national tourism destination would be required to make it viable. The site sits within the flood plain of the River Conwy, and this combined with the challenging ground conditions, has driven the masterplan proposals and ultimately the disposition of uses across the site. The client’s brief is for
no material to leave or be brought to the site, hence why the scheme has been designed in 3-dimensions from the outset. Having researched the world leisure market, the team came across the ‘Wavegarden’ concept being developed in Northern Spain. The Wavegarden© concept has been developed over the last seven years by a group of Hydrological, civil and mechanical Engineers – who also happen to be passionate surfers. R&D investment totalling €7m has been spent, leading to the construction of a full-sized prototype late last year in Northern Spain. The facility has been tested by some of the Pro-Tour’s greatest surfers, to rapturous approval. Wavegarden have recently released their latest video showing the facility and surfer’s testimonials at www.wavegarden.com. The Wavegarden© at Surf Snowdonia WILL be the first up and running in the world. Projects are being developed across the globe from locations as diverse as Barcelona; Berlin; Australia and... Hawaii. Our clients have real vision and genuine passion for the project, yet every decision we have made is grounded in commercial reality. The sensitive setting, close to the Snowdonia National Park boundary, makes the landscape-led approach the obvious way forward. We are on site and will be up and surfing in summer 2015!
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