Category Archives: Urban Design & Regeneration

Bilbao Spain

BilbaoJardin 2007 was an invitation to creative gardeners, landscape artists, architects and other creative people to create 20 new spaces in the city of Bilbao; 20 personal and creative conceptions of modern gardening. RLD’s project was successful in being chosen as one of the 20 projects selected in order to form a creative mesh within the city, allowing locals and visitors alike to enjoy a very special stroll throughout the different quarters of Bilbao and marvel at the garden projects participating in the contest. During the final stage of the contest, the projects will be assigned their corresponding spaces within the city of Bilbao.

St Nicholas’ Cathedral Square

NE1 in conjunction with Newcastle City Council, Robinson Landscape Design, and the St Nicholas Cathedral have lead the refurbishment of the public space that lies between Moseley Street and St Nicholas Cathedral as part of a citywide improvements scheme.

“St Nicholas Square has to be a part of the city that is also a part of the Cathedral.” We envisage the square as a single space, which entails the removal of existing boundaries, the raised plinth and the access lane. This will make the Cathedral visually more accessible from the streets and the streets part of the setting for the Cathedral. This is to be executed in a contemporary and uncluttered manner that takes its form from the rhythms and patterns of the Cathedral elevation and the 19th century Italianate building that stands on the eastern edge of the square. The use of bench walls of sandstone as seats will allow the square to become a daily usable seating space while retaining flexibility as an events area. The high quality of materials used at The Monument will be reflected in this design through the use of sandstone and granite.

Removal of the existing plinth is crucial in opening up the square. The loss of the existing trees is therefore unavoidable. A more controlled line of planting with trees will be created so that there would continue to be a planting barrier to the main traffic junction, but not so great an obstruction to views of the cathedral from the Groat Market. The introduction of raised planting areas would be necessary to give definition and protection to the north western edge of the square, where traffic issues are most intrusive; but otherwise, the space was to be unbroken by steps. Planting would be introduced in the churchyard of the cathedral as had been the case in the 19th century. This would be of a controlled and architectural nature. Planting proposals are for beds of clipped box (Buxus semperivens), edged with pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis). A line of pleached hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) is proposed for the western planting bed. A large area of grass is proposed within the planter containing the statue of Queen Victoria: both as a simple visual device and as useable space for relaxing.

The Starburst:
The major visual concept is the introduction of a light burst pattern (of granite) in the central space, aligned with the northern door to the Cathedral. The idea has derived from the lantern of the cathedral (St Nicholas being the patron saint of sailors) and may become a centre point for Easter vigils and other cathedral events.

The Construction: Newcastle City Council
Newcastle City Council are carrying out the works and these will be completed by Easter 2011.

Sunniside Public Realm

The Sunniside Partnerships chose to continue working with RLD on the street improvements around the new Sunniside Gardens as an extension of the high quality design found at the gardens. This would integrate art from three different artists including Kapok light columns, Charlie Davidson seating and Bill Fontana sound art.

We have worked closely with The Sunniside Partnership to go through an artist selection stage, design initial street layouts and work with city engineers and artists on fine details, technical drawings and tender documents.

Pennine Lancashire Nelson

Robinson Landscape Design, in collaboration with Kapok, Berlin and Reid Jubb Brown Architects, Newcastle have won the Pennine Lancashire Squared competition for Nelson. See the News Page for the judges’ reactions.

Our first entry was to submit the following boards for public exhibition.

Our entry, “Tuning Nelson”, has a vision of greening Nelson and realising the potential of existing buildings and spaces, impressed the judging panel in the international design contest.

Proposals include introducing grassed areas, trees, seating and roof gardens in the town centre, lighting and linking existing landmarks, extending canopies and using public art to promote urban renewal.

In Nelson proposals centred on the Place de Creil – the space between the Pendle Rise Shopping Centre and the former Woolworths building, through the town to the new ACE building. We aim to boost use of the town centre and its public spaces stressing an ambition to develop a bold pride in what Nelson is, what Nelson has and what Nelson can do with minimal alterations to elicit maximum effects by revitalising under-used urban assets.”

There is no intention of imposing “pointless art objects or landscape patterns” on local streets. Nelson’s assets include the town’s location in the Pennines and at the heart of east-west communication links, its many fine buildings and its wonderful views of surrounding landscape. We’re looking to use art, landscape and urban design and architecture in practical steps to improve how the town works – that’s why we called our submission ‘Tuning Nelson.’