Our approach: a way of working results in award success

We’ve recently added to our awards tally, with our landscape team being involved in two schemes which won Constructing Excellence Wales awards.

James Brown

Grange Pavillion won the ‘Value Award’ and the Bay Technology Centre won the ‘Net Zero’ category. Both projects had great client/design teams (including, Morgan Sindall Construction, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, IBI Group, Hydrock, Benham Architects, Grange Pavilion CIO, Mann Williams, Holloway Partnership, CDF Planning), and we think our contribution played a big part in the success of the schemes overall.

 

How We Work

We deliberately fuse landscape architecture, urban design, planning and add just a little architecture to bring the best outcomes to projects. Below are three ways our landscape team has delivered great results for our clients:

1. Context is Critical

We have dedicated urban design and landscape architecture teams, but we deliberately combine their skills and perspectives in different ways to deliver better outcomes on projects

One example of this is the importance of allowing the site surroundings to influence the design process. As urban designers looking beyond the site for influences is ‘in the blood’. This practice is now deeply ingrained in our landscape team also.

An example is the award winning Bay Technology Centre. On this project we needed to integrate existing ecological assets, both within the site and surrounding it, into the design. Rather than treat these features as constraints that needed to be mitigated, we embedded these features into the scheme, which fitted perfectly with the ‘net zero’ aims of the client, contractor and design team.

 
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Bay Technology Centre, which won the Constructing Excellence ‘Net Zero’ Award.

 
2. What Occupiers Want

We are not just designing the spaces around a building, we are shaping places that the future occupants of the building will use.

This is an important distinction. Really understanding the needs of the end users of the building and what they need from the space is central to making a development work. Sometimes buildings have a wide spectrum of occupiers and their needs should be allowed for in the design.

Example: We integrated the needs of the community when designing the external spaces at the multi award winning Grange Pavillion. We listened to their requirements, integrated a series of sustainable drainage systems and understood that the community needed to be able to shape the external spaces themselves over time. As designers, letting go of the end product is a challenge! Instead of predetermining everything, we designed a simple framework for them to refine themselves over time. The relationships we’ve developed mean that we continue to work with the community to help them achieve their goals, as they become accustomed to their wonderful new building.

 
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Grange Pavillion, which won the Constructing Excellence ‘Value’ award as well as RSAW Welsh Architecture Award 2022 and RSAW Client of the Year 2022

 

3. Collaboration is Key

As landscape architects our work involves constantly interacting with the work of other professionals, whether they be architects, civil engineers, ecologists, transport planners, drainage engineers or others.

Internally, our collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach informs how we work externally with other consultants. In addition, we ensure that we always build sufficient time for collaboration, design review and design refinement into our scope of work, to provide outcomes that are tested and deliverable., Where required, this also includes BIM modelling.

Example: Our work with AHMM, Walsh, Caneparo, the client (UrbanNest) and their PM (Cast) has resulted in a comprehensive set of detailed proposals for the construction of hard landscape, raingardens, roofgardens and landscape amenity areas that support the creation accommodation for over 850 students in Battersea. This will be the first major PassivHaus student housing development in London.

 
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CGI of proposed Palmerston Court, Battersea

 

Summary

Like any other professional practice we have the requisite technical knowledge, learning and experience to design great places, but these awards testify that our approach is one that is able to deliver great places.

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