LEOPOLD SQUARE, SHEFFIELD

Careful manipulation of levels opened up this new public square in the heart of the city.

Occupying a former playground between existing Victorian school buildings and using a mix of natural stone surfaces and lush planting around a central ‘water wall’, Leopold Square has become a ‘green oasis’ for city dwellers and workers to escape the cut and thrust of urban life.

Fishergate, Preston

Fundamental rebalance of the pedestrian/vehicle hierarchy has transformed Preston into an attractive civic centre and dramatically improved the city’s viability as a business location. Welcoming city gateways now greet people arriving at the station and University, drawing you into and across the city.

A palette of subtle, yet sophisticated interventions have replaced the highways dominated layout at the city’s core. Wide footways, broad super-crossings, anchor trees and stone-carved plinths work together to redress the balance between traffic and pedestrians whilst guiding free-flowing movement. Bold streetscape designs have reversed declining retail along Fishergate and boosted the city’s long-term prosperity, spurring plans and funding for subsequent phases of work.

ST JOHN’S, BLACKPOOL

Following completion of a 25-year Public Space Framework and Management Plan, we have worked with council engineers and public transport providers to ensure Blackpool’s first true ‘shared street’ would enable vehicles and pedestrians to mix safely. The results have been dramatic, that in just six months vacant unit take-up around the square increased by over 50%

The project has received numerous awards including a Civic Trust Award in 2009 for Public Realm, and a commended Landscape Institute Award 2010.

Altrincham Town Centre

Altrincham has been a market town since 1290 – ambitious regeneration plans are placing the market at its heart again, re-defining Altrincham as THE Modern Market Town.

Planit has been embedded in development of proposals since moving the practice to the town in 2009. Early thoughts on how to drive regeneration forward led to the creation of a concept design for Altrincham’s Public Realm Strategy, then detailed public realm proposals; all of which were underpinned by a detailed knowledge of the town’s historic fabric.

Prior to completion of Goose Green, café tables were already spilling across the newly laid segmental arch stone paving. Subtle details, such as the imprint of webbed feet within occasional paving panels and the tree grilles, have enriched the space along with the tactile sleeping stone geese seats. Transformation of the space has attracted new use, increasing the property values and prosperity of surrounding businesses, all of which were celebrated at a late summer festival.

Honey-hued stone paving has now extended through the town centre and up to the Lower Market and renowned Altrincham Market House. Shared-space principals have been adopted throughout the streetscapes and public spaces, redressing the balance between vehicles and pedestrians, whilst fulfilling the operational requirements of the busy markets and town centre retail. Street trees and furniture give a human-scale to the public spaces, whilst the unique tree grille inscription ‘Altrincham Market Town 1290’ marks the roots of this place.

Check out some of our Before & After transformations of Altrincham

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham

A brand new home is being created for Birmingham Conservatoire, an international music school and part of the Birmingham City University.

Continuing the concept of an angular, defined building carved of rock; the landscape design explores the idea of a quarry reclaimed by nature. Emulation of jagged quarry forms provides a range of visually appealing and distinct spaces, whilst anchoring the building within the landscape and wider public realm. Planters slice through the site to frame views and approaches with dramatic indentations articulating more intimate areas.

Striking ornamental shrub and herbaceous planting softens the arrangement to create a contemplative and relaxing environment. The selection of species that produce timber used in the construction of stringed musical instruments provides a further conceptual overlay to the scheme.

This commission was won through a national design competition in collaboration with Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios.

Circle Square

Occupying central Manchester’s former BBC site, this new neighbourhood is strategically located on Corridor Manchester’s Oxford Road to actively promote alliances; capitalising on the value of proximity to stimulate advancement. Circle Square will enable people to converge to create, work and live in an environment that attracts and fosters talented people. Designed to promote collaboration, but also delivered through collaboration, the development is being realised via a partnership between commercially-focused Bruntwood and residential specialist Select Property Group.

The quality of the ‘place’ is set at the heart of Planit-IE and Feilden Clegg Bradley’s joint masterplan. The scheme combines people, location, activity, cultural richness, microclimate and human-scale to form the setting for a diverse and thriving new community. A Place Making Strategy guides proposals that draw on the site’s history to reintroduce its urban grain and reconnect the site to the city, whilst setting an ambitious and innovative vision for the future.

The development surrounds and focuses on a key central space at its epicenter, illustrated by CGIs produced by Virtual Planit. The central ‘green’ is a flexible external area for relaxation, recreation and events throughout the seasons, that provides a canvas of opportunity to bring people together.

 

Poynton, Cheshire

The Poynton Project was commissioned by Cheshire East Council to address issues associated with the intersection of two major routes at the heart of the town – a hostile and congested traffic space, dominated by traffic signals and road markings. Planit worked alongside shared space champion Ben Hamilton-Baillie to simplify and remove all traffic signals, road markings and barriers to create free-flowing, low speed integrated streets. Quickly becoming an exemplar and point of reference for a host of bodies including Transport For London (TFL), Civic Voice and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Shared space principles underpinned the scheme from the outset with radial streetscape changes, visually narrowed carriageways, bold courtesy crossings and widened footways combining to establish a design speed of around 18 mph.

New paving materials, planting, lighting and street furniture combined to re-establishing a sense of place at the town’s major and minor intersections. This has been reinforced by strong transitional gateway features which reference the area’s industrial heritage.

The completed £4m scheme has now been in operation for over 12 months and the positive impacts of the works include significantly higher levels in foot fall, improved retail performance, better road safety and security, as well as a general uplift in village vitality. The scheme was highly commended through the CIHT 2013 ‘Street’ awards.

An extremely courageous scheme which has succeeded in achieving significant economic and social benefits through the enhancement of ‘place’ whilst continuing to provide a route for significant volumes of traffic.” – CIHT Award Judges

FIRST STREET, MANCHESTER

First Street is rapidly becoming Manchester’s most vibrant new neighbourhood, providing a compelling blend of culture, leisure, retail and office space. This includes the 208-bed INNSIDE hotel, Vita’s 279-room luxury student accommodation, 700-space Q-Park, 180,000sq ft Number One office and Manchester’s new cultural venue, HOME. These combine to form the first phase of ASK Development’s £500m scheme, a new high quality destination within the city.

The development wraps around Tony Wilson Place at the heart of the scheme. This square provides a flexible performance platform for large events, bordered by elongated timber seating steps, whilst a series of lively streets link a genuinely public realm to surrounding areas.

Planit carried out the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment for ASK Developments’s overall masterplan, with verified views and CGIs produced by our in-house team Virtual Planit. We developed detailed public realm designs for First Street North, prior to being novated to Carillion.

The successful completion of First Street North coincided with acquisition of the site by European Investor Patrizia. The new owner swiftly submitted a planning application for a further 219,600sq ft office, appointing Planit-IE as the Landscape Architect for the associated public realm and internal atria garden spaces.

Keybridge House, Vauxhall

Reawakening senses dulled by modern city life, a rich series of pocket parks, gardens, public squares and private courtyards interlink to form an urban haven. Entwined strands of water, planting, light, materials and air create a verdant external environment.

The importance of capturing, attenuating and re-using rainwater threads all elements together as part of a unique rainwater journey. The practicalities of harvesting and irrigation functions are expressed honestly and water is held intentionally on the surface for interaction and enjoyment, before it slips away.

This urban haven is being created as part of the residentially led redevelopment of Vauxhall’s former BT Telephone Exchange. The project provides 415 new homes, a 2-form entry primary school, office space and retail units within the wider ‘Nine Elms’ regeneration scheme.

Sugar House Island, London

Situated on a triangle of former industrial land south of the High Street, Stratford, bounded to the west by the River Lee Navigation and to the east by the Three Mills Wall River, lies a 26 acre site that will soon be transformed into a exciting new neighbourhood. Proposals include 1,200 new homes, 58,000sq m of commercial workspaces, a 350 bed hotel, and ground floor retail, all placed within an exceptional and memorable landscape setting.

The landscape and public realm masterplan has been in development for 2 years. The design draws on the site’s industrial heritage stretching back centuries, as well as taking inspiration from an integrated and creative approach to the management of site-wide constraints such as levels, attenuation, drainage, utilities and vehicular movements.

A true collaboration between the masterplanning architects, numerous building architects, London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council has ensured that the client’s aspirations and vision for the site will be achieved; creating a benchmark for large-scale developments in the area.

The public realm is the unifying element and will be the place where residents and surrounding communities can come together and share conversations in the streets, squares and riverside park. A robust and intelligent up-front design approach to the public realm will help it to become a destination in its own right and ensure that it has a long-term sustainable future that benefits the wider area.