July 18, 2018

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

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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.”

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