The expansion of the Metro Centre to restore its status as Europe’s largest shopping centre has presented an opportunity to review its landscape setting, now some 18 years old. Responding to the architecture of the red quadrant extension RLD has introduced a unique and strong landscape style using mainly evergreen material. New planting provides expansive sweeps of clipped ‘hedges’, avenues and linear sequences of seasonal herbaceous stock. The species palette is limited and this simplicity reinforces the clean lines and geometry of the design. It also enables the site to be easily maintained, particularly advantageous given the Centre’s opening hours and year-round popularity.
The practice acted as landscape architects for one of the last significant inward investment projects in the North East – the establishing of Samsung at Wynyard, nr Billingham, Teesside. This was a major development by Samsung to create their new European manufacture and research centre.
We assisted in the design of the masterplan and went on to design the hard and soft external landscape, creating swathes of screening woodland, a English garden as the focus for the main training and administration building, avenues and grids of trees and extensive ornamental beds along the main staff footpath routes that cut through the site to link the main buildings.
Our work also included extensive consultation with the local planning authority and residents, who initially were uncomfortable about the proximity of such a large industrial development. The scheme was fast track and went in eight months from a green field site to a fully landscaped and operational factory.