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2nd Mar 2015

Grant Associates completes sustainable public realm landscape for Bristol’s historic waterfront

The final phase of public realm landscape design for Bristol’s award-winning Harbourside development has been completed by Grant Associates for developer Crest Nicholson.

The completion of the 15 year regeneration project comes as Bristol celebrates its status as European Green Capital in 2015 – awarded for the City’s outstanding commitment to sustainability, creativity, culture and innovation.

Bristol Harbourside is a £120m mixed-use development on the edge of the city's floating harbour which has regenerated the heart of Bristol's historic waterfront. Sustainable landscape design has played a key role in the overall scheme.

Working closely with masterplan architects Cullinan Studio, Grant Associates has transformed the derelict 6.6 hectare brownfield site of former docks and gas works into a vibrant collection of new streetscapes, waterfront walks, public open space and a sustainable urban drainage system.

Grant Associates’ public realm landscape design is based on a strong sustainable narrative that draws on the waterfront location. Highlights include:

A Vibrant Series of Spaces, Routes and Public Squares

The creation of a series of spaces and routes enhances the floating harbour’s wider public realm, including new public squares and tree-lined avenues, and harbourside moorings with a new harbour inlet. Views and access to the waterfront have been opened up, in particular those of the cathedral and the previously inaccessible Harbour Walk strengthening the site’s visual connections with the city bringing the waterfront back to life.

Sustainable Urban Drainage

A sustainable urban drainage story celebrates the passage of rainwater from the roofs of the buildings to the harbour, visible through a series of collection dishes, channels and rills, and irrigating the planting along the way. Floating reed beds along the harbour edge filter rainwater and surface water before it enters the harbour. The floating reed beds have also created valuable habitat opportunities and provide an attractive waterside setting. Other habitat opportunities include an extensive green wall, fronting onto the central public square.

The Brunel Mile Public Walkway

The Brunel Mile, a key public walkway from Temple Meads Station to the SS Great Britain, is now realised in full. The new Millennium Promenade has opened up the final stretch of this route helping to re-energise the harbour setting with access to the water’s edge providing an appropriate approach and setting to Brunel's historic passenger steam ship.

A Programme of Public Art

A comprehensive programme of public art has been established with internationally renowned artists including Tim Knowles, Richard Box, Janice Kerbal and Daphne Wright working to integrate individual pieces with the wider landscape.

Andrew Grant, Director of Grant Associates said: “We are proud to have been associated with this important project for Bristol throughout its long evolution from Masterplan to implementation. It is fitting to see the final piece completes the Brunel Mile with a memorable landscape experience. ”

Andrew Haines, Senior Associate at Grant Associates said: “The landscape of Bristol Harbourside reconnects the city with its historic waterfront. We set out to create a leading example of sustainable design, including sustainable urban drainage and water attenuation in a creative and imaginative way that enhance local species diversity and ecological richness".

Debbie Aplin, Managing Director of Crest Nicholson Regeneration, said: “The way in which public realm and open spaces are incorporated into modern developments is equally important as the actual buildings themselves.

"As regeneration experts, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to ensure that the role of public space is carefully and thoughtfully planned. It is clear, that when properly designed and delivered, public realm can offer lasting economic, social, cultural, health and environmental benefits for generations.

“The work undertaken by Grant Associates on the Bristol Harbourside scheme has skilfully re-connected the city centre with its historic waterfront. They have done an excellent job bringing together an eclectic mix of public art, heritage, open spaces and green initiatives to perfectly reinforce the city’s status as European Green Capital 2015.”

Bristol Harbourside has received recognition from several awards including Sunday Times British Homes Awards with a Mixed-use Development Commendation (2012) and the Building for Life Gold Standard (2008).

Bristol’s role as European Green Capital

The European Commission has recognised Bristol’s success in creating a green city with a high quality of life by naming the city as European Green Capital 2015. This prestigious award gives Bristol a unique opportunity to further enhance the city’s reputation for creativity, culture and innovation. It was awarded due to Bristol’s ability to demonstrate rapid progress, and continuing ambition, across a wide range of quality of life, environmental and green business aspects, including:

- Creating an energy efficient city through cutting energy use and investing £140m in an energy investment programme.

- Creating a healthy and accessible city through doubling the number of cyclists in the city – with plans to double it again by 2020.

- Investing over £400m in transport infrastructure – enabling a change in travel patterns of the city and improvements in air quality