Monday 28th September 2015 – Station Quarter Visit –
The kerbside artwork ‘Canal Shore‘, which is a vital part of the Station Quarter programme, is very nearly completed. Only a short section remains to be finished, once the Station Forecourt area is completed. ‘Canal Shore’ is a 205m long black basalt kerb with inset granite text, which traces the route of the former Southampton to Salisbury Canal and also happens to be the line of the historic shoreline of the River Test Estuary.
The narrative refers to places, people and events which have marked the development of this landscape. Importantly, the work is also a strategic part of the wayfinding and placemaking ambitions for the Station Quarter project, as it makes an emphatic statement along the main east to west pedestrian route to the Station from the Above Bar area of the city and the Cultural Quarter.
It’s been a while since I posted an update on the Station Quarter Project –
I met up on site with Simon Taylor – Urban Design Manager, Balfour Beatty Living Placesand Pete Boustred – Transport Policy & Sustainable Travel Team Leader at Southampton City Council. I was first commissioned to work on the interpretive and site responsive elements of the project by Simon at BBLP in 2012. We have worked together several times previously in the City. BBLP are delivering the project for Southampton City Council.
Massive changes since my last visit if you look at earlier posts, but brilliant to see the project coming together so well. The amphitheatre steps, part of the Phase 2 works on Wyndham Place have arrived and have been lifted into place. There are a number of other structures still with the manufacturer and these are expected to arrive over the coming weeks. The installation of the large-scale bespoke cast concrete benches, amphitheatre steps and retaining structures manufactured by CCPwill continue over the coming weeks. Hopefully I will get down to Southampton again soon to record more progress.
What was a real pain was that although it was a brilliant blue day – this part of the site was in deep shadow, so the images are a bit too dark to do the work justice !
Other cast concrete works are also on site –
These benches are on the Station Forecourt, immediately as you enter or exit the Station building. This is one section of a large curving two tier bench and way-finding feature within the scheme.
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.