July 22, 2018

LT Studio Landscape Architects with Invisible Studio win planning for East Quay Cultural Development


LT Studio Landscape Architects with Piers Taylor of Invisible Studio have won planning for a new community seafront regeneration scheme in Watchet, West Somerset. 

The development aims to bring jobs, nurture creative enterprise and attract visitors to Watchet in a flagship £6m cultural enterprise scheme working with architect Piers Taylor of Invisible Studio. The project will bring 40 jobs and five apprenticeships and is estimated to bring an increased tourism spend to the area of around £6.7m. The proposals for the 1,094m² scheme include art studios, a gallery, shared workspaces, maker spaces, a print workshop and a café. Overlooking Watchet’s marina, the project is part of a wider regeneration strategy being put into motion by local community interest company Onion Collective.

Well-considered, high quality public realm design has been proposed by LT Studio Landscape Architects. The landscape shall distinguish itself from a conventional mixed use development and will celebrate the maritime heritage setting with industrial roots and uninterrupted views of the coastline. The vision for East Quay is to create a place of civic pride for the whole community. Public space and visitor interaction are key themes, multiple entry points shall encourage people to wander through the site, linger in courtyards, watch makers at work and enjoy the views of the surrounding town, marina and landscape. The flexible external spaces will create a backdrop and a focal point for year-round activities including live music and theatre performances, communal gathering and social space, places to make and places to rest, a restaurant and an art gallery.

The materiality of the scheme will reflect the character of the harbourside environment, drawing on a contextural approach to colour, shape and material source. Existing materials shall be reclaimed and reused notably in the paved areas of public realm between the containers. A rich surface patina of textured ground form shall be created with tree planting to soften the material landscape. Moveable timber seating is proposed along the water’s edge.

Piers Taylor, architect, Invisible Studio says: “In many ways this is unlike anything we’ve designed before. A set of well-considered, well-crafted buildings just wouldn’t be enough here, and the architectural brief from the Onion Collective encouraged us to go beyond anything we’d conceived of before. These buildings are utterly of this place – speaking of its quirkiness, its extraordinary geography, and the richness of coastal architecture in this part of the United kingdom that includes Clevedon Pier.

“At the same time, I’m not sure we’ve ever worked on a scheme where the consequence of the buildings we make will be greater. They are the result of four years research and consultation by a remarkable group of women – the Onion Collective CIC – who have demonstrated the enormous social and economic benefits the scheme will bring to this town. Gaining a consent for this scheme, in this place feels like one of the most important things we have ever been involved with.”

“The exuberance, idiosyncrasy and charm carry the day and the scheme must go ahead just as it is. It is the result of an admirable community effort and is something unique and wonderful,” says the South West Design Review Panel.

Marc Dix, director, LT Studio Landscape Architects says: “This is a fantastic community scheme for Watchet which will celebrate the strong marine heritage of the town, regenerating the quayside and complementing the rich natural resource of the local area. This style of development sets the bar on what can be delivered with a strong community spirit.

“Future proofing the development is at the top of our agenda; the landscape design will be robust to cope with the saline environment, with long term management strategies incorporated into the design from the outset.”

MAD architects’ first US project, a hilltop residential village


‘Gardenhouse’, MAD architects’ first project in the US, has topped out in beverly hills. the plant-covered residential complex is described by MAD as a ‘hillside village’ and, once finished, will be composed of a cluster of white glass villas and trees that ascend upward. the project, which was first unveiled as ‘8600 wilshire’ in 2015, is currently on track for completion in 2018.

The 18-unit complex is currently under construction at 8600 wilshire boulevard, an affluent area in the california city. MAD has designed the site to comprise three townhouses, two studios, five villas and eight condominiums that are arranged to cultivate a private neighborhood feeling in the middle of the city.

Individual balconies and patios peppered with greenery extend out over an inner courtyard offering residents a secret oasis in which to interact and enjoy nature. once complete, the village will also be wrapped in a water-efficient ‘living wall’ of native, drought-tolerant succulents and vines. cut off at ground level, the wall unites the village with a lining of foliage-clad shops that line the street.

‘We want to bring the green atmosphere into what would traditionally be considered compact, condo living, by breaking down the scale and massing of the building,’ founder of MAD, Ma Yansong explains. “Rather than develop architecture where nature exists around the building, we want to give residents the experience of being in the middle of nature, while they enjoy the conveniences of big city living.”

Villa residents will also experience a balance between public and private realms as the housing appears opaque from the street, but reveals a transparent façade facing toward the private garden and other residential units. Complementing the architecture by MAD, will be interiors created by US office rottet studio. ‘gardenhouse’ is on track to complete later in 2018.


Leading landscape architects take part in Exhibit and Lecture Series at LBIF


“Landscape Design Architecture: The Coast” exhibition and lecture series, now at the Long Beach Island Foundation, LBIF, of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies, combines art, architecture, science and learning as it addresses environmental issues of sustainability, resiliency, eco-preservation, particularly those that are critical to this region, Ocean County and the New Jersey coast.

The significance of art, science and design working together is showcased in the extensive exhibit in the Blai Galley, and the lecture series shines with internationally recognized leaders in landscape architecture. Their cutting edge projects all have a special focus on the coastal landscape, projects that have revolutionized environmental spaces.

On Sunday, 8 July, meet four professionals as they discuss their projects and the trends in urban and smaller scale landscapes with moderator Jamie Hand.

Ken Smith, principal of the Ken Smith Workshop based in New York City, is one of the best known of a generation of landscape architects equally at home in the worlds of art, architecture and urbanism. Trained in both design and the fine arts, he explores the relationship between art, contemporary culture and landscape. Smith is committed to creating landscapes, especially parks and other public spaces, as a way of improving the quality of urban life such as the Muscle Beach channel gardens and the BAM Arts Plaza in Brooklyn.

Much of his work pushes beyond traditional landscape typologies – plaza, street and garden – to landscapes that draw on diverse cultural traditions and influences of the contemporary urban landscape. Smith’s approach is directed at projects of varying scales and types: temporary installations, private residential gardens, public spaces, parks and commercial projects. Attending the LBIF.

Trevor Lee, from OLIN, has over 14 years of experience working both in the private and academic sectors. He has a wealth of public realm and urban planning expertise: In his previous position as associate at James Corner Field Operations, he led the concept phase of The High Line section 3 and the winning competition entry for Chicago’s Navy Pier. He also led the design of the Central Green in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard and was a senior designer for the Tsim Tsha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong, a waterfront nearly one mile long.

At OLIN, Lee led the design team for the Yale University Forestry School Landscape, a LEED platinum project. He also was the lead designer for the Potomac Park Levee project in Washington, D.C.

Joseph T. Sikora is the leader of Sikora Wells Appel with over 30 years of experience in landscape architecture, planning and urban design. He has been involved in a wide array of award-winning projects including university campuses, healthcare centers, mixed-use communities, public parks, memorials, roof gardens, residences and urban plazas. His design approach strives for innovative and timeless solutions with a focus on creating socially and ecologically sustainable places.

Landscape architect and architect José M. Alumiñana is a principal in Andropogan Associates. On June 21, Andropogan received the 2018 Landscape Architect Firm award.

Alumiñana excels at thinking outside the box while still expressing the functional realities of innovative construction techniques. He creates sustainable designs that respond directly to each site’s resources. Regardless of project scale, he distills the site’s resources into functional, beautiful and environmentally responsible designs. Alumiñana is a visiting lecturer at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.

All will be highlighted at the LBIF.


re-form appointed to £200m Pall Mall Exchange urban masterplan in Liverpool


re-form Landscape Architecture has been appointed by CTP and Kier Property to design a major new public realm scheme as part of the £200m Pall Mall Exchange urban masterplan project in Liverpool.

re-form, whose portfolio includes the £25m transformation of Hull city centre’s public realm as part of its UK City of Culture status in 2017, will work alongside master planning architects Allies & Morrison to develop the landscape and public realm proposals which will include a series of streets and squares throughout the 4.2-hectare site. A planning application will be submitted by the end of the summer.

A joint venture partnership between CTP, Kier Property and Liverpool City Council was announced in February 2017 to deliver the Pall Mall Exchange scheme. It will include 400,000 sq ft of Grade A office space to the rear of Exchange station, along with leisure, retail and public realm, creating more than 1,000 jobs.

At the heart of re-form’s designs will be a new public space comprising a 3000 sq m ‘green square’ to promote health and wellbeing. It will create an inspiring setting for businesses and providing much-needed urban green space for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Guy Denton, director at re-form Landscape Architecture, commented: “This is a significant appointment for the practice in the North West, recognising our capabilities in placemaking and creating attractive public realm in urban centres. The scheme is another great example of how public and private sector organisations are working together to harness the transformational effects of investing in high-quality public spaces. We look forward to working with great clients and a fantastic team from the design phase through to project completion.”

David Topham, chief executive at CTP Ltd, commented: “The public realm is where we all interface with the buildings and places that we inhabit in our towns and cities. Kier Property and CTP have appointed re-form as our landscape architects to our project at Pall Mall, Liverpool, to help ensure we develop a place that builds on the expanding and existing high-quality city centre to deliver an outstanding place for business, residents and visitors of Liverpool. Kier Property and CTP were overwhelmed by the quality of businesses that approached us to work on Pall Mall alongside our professional design team, led by Allies and Morrison. We were impressed by re-form’s approach and track record and we look forward to working with them over the coming years at Pall Mall, Liverpool.”

Tom Gilman, managing director at Kier Property (North), added: “We are delighted to be working with re-form and Allies and Morrison to help us deliver this exciting new development in Liverpool.”

re-form is involved in a number of high-profile projects across the North West including the £800m Salford City masterplan – a joint Salford City Council and Salford University initiative – which covers 240 acres across the city district and includes 46 acres of public realm.  The masterplan was unveiled at this year’s MIPIM event in Cannes.

Other recently completed public realm schemes include ‘The Boatshed’ for developer Urban Splash. re-form created a high-quality landscape setting to complement the transformation of a 1990s-built office block on the banks of River Irwell in Salford Quays into contemporary workspaces. The team also worked on the redesign of Bradshawgate and Albion Street, two of the main shopping streets in Leigh, Greater Manchester, as part of the first phase of a wider town centre regeneration initiative.

Shortlist for Garden City of the 21st Century Competition


Shortlisted landscape designs announced for first Garden City of the 21st Century Competition showcases world class landscape ideas to help develop a modern, healthy city at Ebbsfleet, Kent.

In March an international design competition was launched by the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and the NHS to find the best creative and inspiring ideas to help shape the landscape of what will be the first new Garden City of the 21st Century, and the largest of 10 Healthy New Towns being developed in the UK.

On 2 July, the shortlist of the winning ideas was announced at the Housing Design Awards 2018, as part of a special seminar organised with the NHS to challenge homebuilders to support better health outcomes.

The Healthy New Town Programme is led by NHS England, who are working with Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that the Garden City is a happy, healthy place to live and work.

Managed by The Landscape Institute, the competition is in two stages. The first stage of the competition invited entries from landscape professionals, or teams including landscape professionals, with multidisciplinary teams incorporating artists and engineers particularly encouraged. Entries needed to address the shape of the whole city, rather than just one site, with the judges looking beyond Ebbsfleet at the wider health of the nation with the ideas submitted.

Located 17 minutes from Central London by high-speed rail and two hours from Paris and Brussels by Eurostar, Ebbsfleet is a major railway hub between London and Europe. It also has a unique topography that could be incorporated into any design concept – from frontages along the River Thames, to lakes and extensively-quarried chalk hills and valleys, to historic sites such as the Gilbert Scott-designed church in Northfleet.


The panel of ten judges (http://healthygardencity.co.uk/#panel) selected five finalists to go forward to stage 2 of this innovative competition which are:

  • The Chalk Walk

Additive Urbanism, a landscape design studio led by Matthew Halsall CMLI. In collaboration with Ryan Szyani, Architectural installation designer.

A series of natural interventions that combine to form an educational wildlife trail – The Chalk Walk. This would be implemented prior to the main development, employing a series of devices connecting new and existing communities to one another, in order to greatly improve access to nature and provide a healthy alternative to travelling by car.

  • The Ebbsfleet Sublime – The disruptive use of the picturesque to create wellbeing and place –

LDA Design in collaboration with Architecture 00 and Vivid Economics

The Ebbsfleet Sublime is imagined as a beautiful, carefully curated experiential landscape which accommodates productive land, play, workspace, recreation. It draws out the sublimity of nature from the Ebbsfleet landscape and adopts the painterly techniques of Turner, Gainsborough and Lambert.

  • Everyday Adventure

Huskisson Brown Associates working with Claire Powell Chartered Physiotherapist

Everyday Adventure focuses on creating a framework of accessible, active and sociable green routes that connect communities, destinations and population groups, to promote walking and physical activity as the preferred choice for everyday journeys and experiences. 

  • H.A.L.O – a model for growing a healthy infrastructure – Bradley Murphy Design in collaboration with JTP, Peter Brett Associates and Sebastien Boyesen

HALO comprises four key interventions that overlay Ebbsfleet like a web.  They connect people to place and to each other, addressing the fragmentation of landscape and habitats, limitations of access and restricted sources of healthy food.  These interventions respond to local context through a range of typological treatments, that are reflective of local landscape character, building a richness of experience that is unique to Ebbsfleet.

  • Swanscombe Gorge Park by Chris Blandford Associates in association with Buro Happold and Proctor & Matthews

The aims are to:  reconnect  the  landscape  and  communities;  regenerate  and   repair  the  existing  natural  landscape;  rejuvenate  the  site  with  cultural  and  recreation  activities and to  re-use  local  materials. 


The judges also highly commended The New Landscape Guides to Ebbsfleet – Churchman Landscape Architects in collaboration with Thomas Matthews and Buro Happold Engineering. This project was inspired by 20th-century Shell/Shilling Guides, a series of guidebooks describing the counties of Britain.

Kevin McKeogh, director of the Ebbsfleet Healthy New Town Programme, said: ‘Ebbsfleet Garden City’s landscape with its white chalk cliffs, open green spaces and lakes offers a unique opportunity to provide a landscape that challenges the norm. It will also be creating 15,000 new homes and 30,000 jobs, so it is important that the landscape delivers a sustainable and healthy place for people to live and work.’

‘As the Director of the Ebbsfleet Healthy New Town Programme, I am delighted by the range of ideas and approaches we have received and the shortlist is outstanding. I look forward to the competition moving on to its next phase.’

Dr Sara McCafferty, Healthy New Towns Programme lead, NHS England said: ‘Ebbsfleet is the largest of the 10 demonstrator sites in NHS England’s Healthy New Towns programme, which seeks to improve the design of new places in a way that improves the health and wellbeing of the residents that live there.  This competition has created an exciting opportunity to take an innovative approach to the design and sustainability of the city and, in particular how land can be used to support the health of its community.’

‘The creativity in landscape design shown by the entrants is truly inspiring and I am sure will contribute significantly to what we want to achieve with a Healthy New Town.’

Dan Cook, chief executive of the Landscape Institute said: “At the Landscape Institute we are fully aware of the power of good landscape to improve our health and well-being. The work we have done on public health and landscape has gathered a growing evidence base that green spaces play a vital role in healthy living. By having green spaces integrated into communities, people have the opportunity to become more active and improve their health. Even short-term exposure to green space can have a huge impact on both physical and mental well-being.

“Driving forward this important link is at the heart of this project and we are delighted to see such a range of exciting projects come through from our colleagues across the landscape profession. We look forward to seeing what these five shortlisted companies will come up with for the next phase of the competition”

The five shortlisted companies have now received a second stage brief and will have the task of developing designs for one of the lakes within the city. The winner will be announced at the LI Annual Conference on 6 September 2018.

More details about each of the shortlisted concepts are in the media information sheet attached, along with images and visuals which bring each project to life.