VELOPARK, NATIONAL CYCLING CENTRE

In early 2009, Planit worked with New East Manchester and British Cycling on proposals for a new urban park within the wider Velodrome sports complex.

The outcome was a network of ‘extreme sports’ facilities, with a long term ambition to create an extended velopark linking the city to nearby countryside and allowing formal and informal cycling events to occupy the same space.

Anfield Stadium Expansion

Our work for Liverpool Football Club (LFC) has extended from proposals to build a new ‘Stadium in the Park’ to the creation of a ‘Stadium on the Park’.

This alternative route to the pursuit of additional capacity marked fundamental alteration in the approach of LFC’s new owners, with associated benefits for the community from which the Anfield stadium has grown.

Designs for a new stadium within the historic Stanley Park originally gained planning approval in 2004, but were soon supplanted by the Texan owner’s ever more ambitious proposals. They sought to design a world-class stadium for 80,000 fans, referencing LFC’s defining feature – the famous Spion Kop Stand.

By 2012, as LFC celebrated its 120th year, it was clear that Anfield was, and should remain, the club’s physical and spiritual home. Further changes in ownership (to Fenway Sports Holdings, owners of the Boston Red Sox) reinforced the club’s desire to remain at Anfield, redeveloping and expanding the existing stadium on the borders of Stanley Park.

Planit-IE supported LFC’s plans to integrate and extend the facilities into the surrounding Anfield and Breckfield neighbourhood, in collaboration with Liverpool City Council and Your Housing Association. Working alongside the partners we helped create the Strategic Regeneration Framework, combining numerous live projects and new, longer-term ambitions that would underpin the vision to realise lasting social, economic and environmental transformation. The resulting design guidance and development parameters shaped proposals that have guided the planning application for two new stands.

The successful application was supported by our LVIA, CGIs, verified views and detailed public realm proposals.

New public spaces, covering an area greater than that of the hallowed pitch within the stands, extend the influence of Stanley Park into the neighbourhood, to create a series of connected squares and plazas, that together form a green foil to the stadium. Throughout our work we have balanced the needs of the local community, who will use the spaces on a daily basis, with the sensitivities associated with the relocation of the Hillsborough Memorial; alongside the aspiration to maximise the fans’ match day experience.

We worked with the club to develop their world marketing and brand strategy associated with the launch of the stadium expansion. Virtual Planit created CGIs, real-time camera-matched videos, animations and immersive 360-degree virtual reality experiences to help LFC secure global corporate sponsorship, enhance strategic partnerships and market the expanded corporate offer.

Surf Snowdonia, Dolgarrog

Give us a pioneering Client, a challenging site 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 the team had been looking at options for the site for over three years. The introduction of Wavegarden to the equation was a game-changer – as it has been for Dolgarrog and North Wales. This is not another cheap and cheerful water park – it is a world-class surfing facility, generating the perfect 2m high wave, day in day out, all year round, catering for beginners and experts alike. We have had many projects on the books but this is one of the most exciting and is in closes 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 had lain derelict since 2006, when the Ainscough Group purchased it. Although the site had 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 tourist destination would be required to make it viable. The  sensitive setting, close to the Snowdonia National Park boundary, made a landscape-led approach the obvious way forward. The site sits within the flood plain of the River Conwy, and this combined with the challenging ground conditions, drove the masterplan proposals and ultimately the disposition of uses across the site. The client’s brief was for no material to leave or be brought to the site, hence the need to design the scheme in 3-dimensions from the outset.

Having researched the world leisure market, the team came across the ‘Wavegarden’. The Wavegarden© concept was developed over a period of seven years by a group of Hydrological, Civil and Mechanical Engineers – who also happen to be passionate surfers. R&D investment totalling €7m led to the construction of a full-sized prototype in Northern Spain which was tested by some of the Pro-Tour’s greatest surfers, to rapturous approval. CGIs produced by Virtual Planit played an important role is demonstrating how the new surf lagoon would be integrated into its rural setting.

The Wavegarden© at Surf Snowdonia is the first publicly-accessible surf lagoon up and running in the world. Projects are being developed across the globe from locations as diverse as Barcelona; Berlin; Australia and… Hawaii. The new technology immediately opened up the opportunity to host competitions and gave credence to the bid for surfing to be included as an Olympic sport.

Our Client has real vision and genuine passion for the project, yet every decision made has been grounded in commercial reality.

Copenhagen Arena

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 world-class 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 to 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.