Civic Voice shortlists 12 schemes for new design awards !
The Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Project aka ‘Margate Steps’, has been shortlisted for this new design award.
“Civic Voice – the national charity for the civic movement – has today announced its national shortlist for the best designed new development nominated by communities in the country”.
Griff Rhys Jones, Civic Voice President said:
“What I really like about the Civic Voice Design Awards is that they are national awards which have been nominated by local community organisations like civic societies, residents groups, town and parish councils and other community based voluntary organisations, rather than the industry professionals. They show that people are willing to welcome the new developments we need when they have been properly consulted and involved and where the quality of design has been of the highest standard. I look forward to meeting the award winners”
A quick site visit yesterday – 19th March – to see the manifestation sample installed in the M1 / M2 Block entrance lobby. This is one of the interpretive artworks on site – part of the public realm and public art enhancements.
This is the interior courtyard space, which we know as The Place – this is a public space for both residents and pedestrians alike. The site will provides a new pedestrian route along a desire line from Chelmsford Station, through to the town centre.
The York Stone steps with inset granite text are manufactured by the Ashfield Group.
Interior of entrance lobby – with sample vinyl manifestation taped to the glazing. The weather was really dull & overcast. The printed white inks don’t jump out very much. If it had been bright and sunny, the design would cast a myriad of shadows onto the frame and floors. Will have to wait & see how that works out !
I left Ramsgate on High Speed 1 for London, St Pancras, then by Tube to Victoria to pick up the Gatwick Express & Gatwick to Newquay by Twin Prop and from there by car to Bissoe – easy ! A great day – but one delay along the way could have been a disaster – fortunately it was brilliant.
The units below are the first to be manufactured and are, as such the sample test for the project. We will be looking to iron out any issues presenting at this stage and develop a methodology for ensuring quality control through the production period. The Type C unit – is only one of several bespoke profiles being developed – with each profile there are accompanying bespoke ends and specials to be made.
This is a single unit, part of a six unit seating set for the landscape works. The seating forms part of the interpretation and public art created for the project. The units as seen here have yet to have the etching treatment to expose the surface aggregates, so appear quite light in colour. The finished colour and aggregate mix reflect the multi blend granite paving used throughout the site and is informed by the geology of the site – alluvial gravels – which were at one time quarried nearby in the area now occupied by the Civic Centre. These gravels would have formed the beach of the River Test Estuary, which was – until 175 years ago – to be found where Blechynden Terrace now stands.
We have selected the Blackhill Aggregate – White Cement – Heavy Etch sample to work with –
The composite image below, illustrate the evolution of the Type C Bench. The basic section is added to with bespoke and varying ‘ends’, with some units being further cast with lighting recesses.
I particularly like to see the timber joinery and craftsmanship which goes into the moulds. No-one else really sees this – and the general public generally have no idea of the work that goes on behind the scenes to achieve the objects they see in the public realm.
I recently saw some new aerial images of Margate Steps at low tide taken by the project contractors Breheny –
Breheny have very kindly allowed me to publish them on my blog. Notwithstanding its success as an example of coastal engineering within an urban setting, these images of the project really show to good effect the scale and impact of the project. As a public realm & additional amenity space which the step revetment provided for the town, the project was also successful as demonstrated by the awards it has won.
I was commissioned as the project Artist by MACH – Margate Art & Cultural Heritage, Thanet District Council & the Environment Agency. My role was to supply an interpretive & contextual backdrop developed with which to influence the design process & inform the structure, detailing & interpretation of this major sea defence works. The total budget for the project was £6m.
Works are well underway by the Ashfield Group to manufacture and supply the artwork step details to the project. The double height steps in York Stone are being inset with a darker granite text detail set into the face of the riser, which is part of the art interpretation on site. These double height steps will also have a slatted timber top, which creates ad hoc seating within the main sequence of steps at the southern end of the site. The timber will also carry cnc routed text.
The timber seating units for The Gate – a set of 6 radius benches with cnc routed text – are currently being installed at the Central Chelmsford site. The benches are being manufactured by City Squared in Leeds & installed by Ground Control. The designs were developed in collaboration with City Squared. The cnc routed text refers to the history, location and memory of the space & is defined by the adjacency of the Anne Knight Building, which has been refurbished & is considered the anchor building of the development site.
507 new homes as well as retail and offices will make up the new development. The project is delivering a blueprint for a new community in Chelmsford.
The site has a number of key buildings once part of Anglia Ruskin University, which are being partly or wholly retained and refurbished. These are the Frederick Chancellor Building of 1905 and the Law Building of 1931.
One of the most historic & resonant as well as the earliest buildings on the site is the Grade II listedAnne Knightbuilding, a former Friends Meeting House from 1824. Named after one of Chelmsford’s most distinguished women, Anne Knight 1786 – 1862.
The view of The Gate with its blue black brick curved elevation. This area is intended as a public open space, extending the forecourt and public realm of Chelmsford Station. The ground floor elevations are glazed and the interiors will be used as retail and food outlets.
Looking South, through the aperture into The Place. The elevation of The Gate is dynamic & brooding. The crisp detailing is pared down. A facade of cantilevered black balconies appear to jut out from deep into the interior of the building from recessed windows.
Looking south towards Central Park through The Place. The main pedestrian route will be on the left of this image, with the remaining site will be landscaped as a formal courtyard garden for residents and visitors alike
The view north, towards the Station from within The Place
These are both samples of text to be used in the interpretive artwork which is embedded throughout the site. The sample on the left is York Stone with inset water jet cut grey granite, by Ashfield Ltd. Inset text such as this is used for step risers at the south of the site. The sandblasted sample on the right is part of a Royal Green granite paving supplied by Hardscape , called The Stream which runs continuously through the site north to south. Both interventions are based on contextual and site specific research I undertook.