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From the end of this month, we’ll be moving the Place-Make Live blog page to the ‘News’ section of the new website.

Existing posts from Place-Make Live have already been migrated to the new site and we hope the new format will allow us to post updates of the practice’s activities and articles more frequently.

Many thanks for following us through this page – we hope you’ll like the new website when this goes live (www.place-make.com) and if not connected already, please continue to follow us through;

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Spring Update

It has been some time since we last posted a general update of what we have been up to and as spring slowly rolls into summer it’s probably a good time to remedy this.

The reason that it’s taken this time to post an update is that much has happened in recent months, including an office move, website refreshment and a number of new commissions.

This page initially began as an opportunity to share the practice’s activities in an interactive, informal format for those who may have an interest. The new website will have a built-in news page, which hopefully will make posting updates a more regular occurrence and keep the site current.

The website refresh coincides with a move from our previous base in North London to new offices in Hitchin, Herts. This strategically positions ourselves between London, Milton Keynes and Cambridge with better access across the wider East of England and also, to the North and the Midlands.

A number of exciting new commissions have added to an already varied project base across the spectrum of ‘place-making’. Combining building and urban design, sustainability and urban planning, this had been the initial intent when setting-up a practice that would be dedicated to place-making as a specialist discipline and our passion for creating bespoke, integrated buildings and places.

New & Ongoing

This year has seen new instructions on a number of sites from Lancashire to the East Midlands and West Sussex. These include strategic green and brownfield sites of between 10 and 45 hectares for a variety of activities – from predominantly residential extensions to mixed-use and tourism.

More about each of these projects as they develop via the ‘News’ link on the new website.

Working alongside a multidisciplinary team of Mayer Brown, Cerda Planning, Ecolocation and Eco-Design Consultants, the master plan for Stoneythorpe Village – a relatively self-contained settlement of up to 800 homes rooted in sustainable and environmental design principles – continues to develop, knitting potential development around existing landscape, natural habitats, ecologically sensitive areas and a sustainable urban drainage strategy.

Stoneythorpe Village

Stoneythorpe Village – Illustrative Master Plan

In Ibadan, Nigeria, the site for Wellsprings has now been cleared and graded and new roads and utilities are being set out. Having completing the Master Plan in 2015, we were subsequently engaged to prepare five primary house types and a typical apartment building in the same spirit as the Master Plan.

Both Master Plan and typical building types have recently received approval of regulatory consents and we now look forward to watching the construction of the project – and ultimately, the arrival of Wellsprings’ new residents.

Wellsprings, Ibadan

Wellsprings, Ibadan – concept through to construction

 

This year, L’Heritage (a boutique hotel in the Lebanese mountains and one of the practice’s first projects) enters its third summer season. Envisaged as a destination for both day and overnight guests, new accommodation was arranged around a centrally located infinity pool to provide uninterrupted views across Beirut and the Mediterranean Sea and a multi-purpose event space.

In addition to becoming a popular summer retreat, it has also become an attractive venue for music and entertainment events – the central open space is cleared in the evenings to create an atmospheric stage against the backdrop of the city and the sea.

New Offices

Last month, we moved to new offices in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Equidistant to London, Cambridge and Milton Keynes, the new base gives us greater access to the Midlands and the North, while retaining good connections to Central London and across the South-East.

The new office is accessible from Hitchin train station (30 minutes from London Kings Cross and Cambridge) or by car from J8 (Hitchin) or J9 (Letchworth Garden City) of the A1(M) and the M1 via Luton.

 

New Website

To correspond with the office move, we (with the help of Inky Design) are currently refreshing the website and will shortly be raising a holding page for this (place-make.com).

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The new site will be more fluid and interactive than the existing format, which, while serving us well for 4 years, was in need of a refresh to showcase recent projects, news and media links.

Existing posts from ‘PlaceMakeNow’ will be migrated to the ‘News’ page of the new site, which will also have links to related articles by the team.

A link to the new website will appear on this page once it becomes active – we hope you’ll like it!

Articles and other news…

Some links to recent posts and articles;

The Lanes, Muswell Hill

We recently launched an initiative to develop a parallel route for artisan and creative industries in Muswell Hill, North London. The intention of this is to consider the potential for creating additional work and meeting space for local small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), artists and producers through repairing the neglected mews and lanes that run alongside the main thoroughfares. Here is a summary of this …

The Lanes, Muswell Hill: a strategic vision to develop a parallel route for small businesses, artisan and creative industries in N10

A well-defined urban village in North London, Muswell Hill is an exemplar of contemporary city living; homes, shops, a library, gyms, parks and schools are all located within close proximity while a number of bus routes link to central London and the wider locale. Through this, the area has retained a particularly strong sense of community and identity within the context of an ever-changing and expanding global city.

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A model for contemporary city living: homes, employment, shopping, leisure, schools and transport links within close proximity

This is bolstered by a vibrant arts and crafts, mixed media and creative scene that supports a community of local producers, artists, jewellers, dressmakers, carpenters, bakers, potters, designers, independents and start-ups.

However, increasing rents along the Broadway – N10’s primary shopping street – and a lack of alternative commercial opportunities present a significant challenge to Muswell Hills’ social and physical make-up.

To maintain a diverse and sustainable community, there is an urgent need to create affordable work and meeting space for independent outlets, SMEs and creative industries that generate employment, support other local businesses and foster the area’s unique sense of place.

This raises a significant question; how to create additional opportunities while maintaining the over-arching sense of place and character?

Hidden behind the main commercial streets is a network of mews and lanes. Forming an almost complete loop around the existing commercial area, these were initially planned to provide a rear access to shops and the apartments above these.

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Over time, the nature and management of the shops has changed – restocking and servicing may now be from the front of the shop at off-peak times while ‘on site’ parking and outside storage is no longer a necessity. As a result, the rear lanes and mews have become somewhat neglected spaces and despite their proximity to the Broadway, these remain largely unused and unnoticed.

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Examples of ‘left over’ spaces along the lanes and mews behind commercial streets 

If these areas can be restored and reintegrated within the urban fabric, they present a unique opportunity to improve the overall quality of the built environment, create exciting new streets and public squares and provide invaluable work and meeting space for local businesses through the renewal of existing buildings and sensitive infill development.

Realising such an initiative will of course require support from public and private sector stakeholders and further study on a ‘site by site’ basis. However, from a practical perspective, initial investment may be limited to public realm improvements, which will reconnect these spaces and through this, encourage greater use and activity. A variety of mechanisms may then be explored to guide and control the implementation and occupancy of new accommodation.

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If successful, the model may be applied to other neighbourhood nodes across London and in other cities, many of which have similarly neglected service mews and lanes to the rear of primary commercial streets. In addition to providing invaluable workspace for SMEs, where appropriate, an upper level of housing or live/ work units may be added; this would provide natural surveillance of the street outside working hours while also, encouraging greater densities around mixed use centres.

If viable, the composite effect could be the repair of neglected lanes and mews and the renewal of existing sites to strengthen key nodes and deliver much needed accommodation for a variety of SMEs, affordable housing and live/ work units.

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For more details of this initiative or a copy of the full presentation, please email us at media@place-make.com

Spring Update

After a bit of a delay when it looked like the seasons were going backwards, it’s finally beginning to look like spring!

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From the master planning of an exemplar, environmentally driven development of up 800 new homes to the redevelopment of an iconic modernist tower, here is a summary of what we have been working on…

Stoneythorpe Village, Warwickshire

With the underlying intent of achieving a zero carbon development of up to 800 units with supporting retail, commercial and community facilities, Stoneythorpe Village represents a truly exciting opportunity to plan for tomorrow while accommodating the needs of today.

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To best achieve this, the illustrative master plan (above) represents the coming together of sustainable strategies for landscape, infrastructure and building design to present a fully integrated vision for new development – from the orientation of new units to maximise solar gain to setting out a road network that may accommodate driverless vehicles over time.

SVAt the same time as planning for the future, it has been significant to ensure that new development responds to existing conditions and the wider context. Within this, particular care and attention has been applied to ensure the mix and arrangement of new development has a particular sense of place and character that is rooted in the Lias Uplands region.

Aje House, Ibadan

Earlier this year, we submitted a visioning strategy for the redevelopment of an iconic modernist tower at the heart of Ibadan’s Central Business District.

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Clearly apparent on Ibadan’s skyline and one of Nigeria’s tallest buildings (excluding central Lagos), the tower has gradually fallen into a state of disrepair and its once prominent site has been gradually absorbed within the growth and expansion of the city: it is now difficult to find the site at street level.

As part of an invited design competition, a strategy has been prepared for the redevelopment of up to 2,560 m2 of prime commercial space that includes Aje House, its podium and a cluster of smaller buildings and structures.

Within the resultant proposal, the core of the existing structure is retained while the podium is extended to provide a range of supporting retail, commercial and hospitality activities and present a ‘front door’ to Lebanon Road; one of Ibadan’s commercial spines. A separate structure seeks to accommodate parking requirements while a roof top restaurant, bar and lounge frames a view to Mokola Hill and Agobi Gardens.

Domestic Airports Planning Review, KSA

Continuing from the end of 2015, we have been reviewing the proposed land use master plan and terminal design for three domestic airports in KSA.

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As the basis for this, multiple aspects are considered including site conditions and regional growth patterns, ‘airport city’ development principles, market and economic studies and local and national aviation regulations.

At a local level, we are working with Jeddah based Hazim Consulting while UK based transport planners, Mayer Brown are reviewing aircraft manoeuvring, infrastructure design and traffic forecasts for each site.

Other News:

Arc Consulting Partners: At the end of 2015, Place-Make aligned with a number of similar sized, independent consulting firms with a particular experience in tourism and hospitality development.

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The intention of the new consortium is to provide an integrated approach to a new or an existing tourism offering through consideration of the many interrelated aspects that are associated with a successful and sustainable development.

Whether it is a self-contained destination such as an agri-tourism resort or a city centre hotel or multiple assets spread across a wider area, Arc-CP brings together specialists at each stage in the process of planning, delivering and operating a successful project.

Further information on group expertise and areas of operation can be found at this link: www.arc-cp.com

Season’s Greetings!

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Season’s greetings – many thanks for your interest and support over the past year!

 

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Autumn Update

The leaves on the trees are beginning to disappear, summer clothes have been packed away for another year and raincoats and umbrellas are on permanent stand by (in the UK, at least!).

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As we begin the gradual decent into winter, we thought it would be a good time to stay indoors and prepare an update of what we have been working on over autumn…

 

Stoneythorpe Village, Warwickshire

Working alongside a multi-disciplinary team that includes Mayer Brown, Cerda Planning, Eco-Design Consultants and Vista Landscape Studio, an Illustrative Master Plan and planning documents have been prepared for a sustainable community of up to 800 homes with supporting local centre facilities.

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Illustrated Master Plan

Representing a composite area of up to 40 ha, the master plan provides an integrated strategy for the arrangement of potential development and incorporates a number of particular environmental design considerations from the distribution of facilities according to walking distances to the alignment, massing and treatment of buildings for energy efficiency.

An underlying landscape structure connects existing planting, proposed open space and the wider landscape context while supporting ecology, drainage and circulation strategies.

Walking Distances

Walking distances

Particular care and attention has been applied to building massing and the arrangement of activities and open space to sensitively integrate the new community with the wider locale and encourage a sense of place and character that will be akin to a traditional village.

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Arrangement of the local centre around a market square

 

Concept Master Plan for a new university town in Pakistan

Working with Meinhardt Group and the Provincial Housing Authority, Place-Make has been engaged to prepare a Concept Master Plan for a significant new development in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

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Aspirational Master Plan

Based around the catalyst of a new university, development is envisaged as a traditional college or university town where research and academic activities will be decentralised and interspersed within mixed-use areas.

Overall, an area of up to 32,000 hectares has been identified for potential development. In addition to the proposed urban area, this includes expansive areas of formal and informal landscaping for leisure and recreational activities. Strategic areas have been set aside for future growth and expansion as part of a long term phasing strategy.

Reflecting the site’s undulating topography coupled with the overall intent to decentralise academic activities, the vision is for a consolidated, mixed-use district with a variety of satellite ‘academic villages’. Each ‘academic village’ will accommodate a different faculty, together with an allowance of residential and retail accommodation. Potential development will be sensitively arranged around the site’s natural topography and characteristics and large areas of the natural landscape will be retained.

After completion of the overarching land use, transportation, open space and phasing strategies, core action areas will be developed in greater detail.

 

Private residence with guest accommodation and leisure facilities in Ibadan, Nigeria

Located on an area of 0.9 hectares that gradually slopes towards Ibadan’s golf course, new development will include a large family residence with guest and employee’s accommodation and a variety of leisure and recreational facilities.

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General Arrangement

Within this, Place-Make has been engaged to provide a holistic vision for new development that integrates multiple buildings and open spaces of varying character and function with the site’s natural topography and existing planting. Particular design considerations have included the arrangement of proposed buildings and activities to maximise views across the site and the wider locale, incorporate variations in level, create shaded areas and provide a hierarchy of private and semi-private open spaces.

Having submitted alternatives for potential arrangements, the preferred option is currently being developed at a greater level of detail.

 

Other News:

New Instruction: Review of three regional airports in KSA

Working alongside KSA based, infrastructure design and project managers, Hazim Consulting and Mayer Brown in the UK, we have recently been engaged to provide a review of the master plans for three regional airports in KSA.

AQI Master Plan Project

Initially prepared in 2009, a number of national and international airport design regulations have since been revised, which has necessitated the review and potential modification of the current master plans and passenger terminals.

More news to follow as this exciting project develops …

 

New Partnership

We are delighted to become a member of a recently formed consortium of independent practices that will be specifically dedicated to tourism and hospitality related development.

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Arc Consulting Partners brings together specialists in the fields of tourism economics, hospitality market appraisal and asset management, quantity surveying, distribution and technology, property asset management, finance and travel. Within this, Place-Make will bring to the team a particular focus of the physical and strategic aspects of a potential development, whether this is a boutique hotel or a master plan with a range of complimentary activities.

The overriding ambition of the partnership will be to enhance a tourism or hospitality offering through greater consideration of the many interrelated aspects that are associated with the development and operation of a successful project.

Once live, a link to the Arc Consulting Partners website will be shared on this page.

 

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Portugal Place-Making

We are currently working with London and Devon based leisure and tourism consultants, Petersham Group to support the municipality of Barreiro in the regeneration of the existing port and harbour area.

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Located on the left bank of the River Tagus adjacent to central Lisbon, Barreiro has a rich past and the city played a pivotal role in Portugal’s industrial growth and expansion.

Reflecting a trend that can be seen across Europe’s port cities, the present day waterfront presents a very different landscape to the once bustling ship and rail yards and currently, the port’s primary activity is the daily transfer of commuters from Barriero to Lisbon.

Existing conditions: the former railway and maintenance buildings

Existing conditions: the former railway and maintenance buildings

Existing conditions: ferries to and from central Lisbon

Existing conditions: ferries to and from central Lisbon

The opportunities presented by the waterfront are clearly apparent combining buildings and structures of significant interest, attractive views, existing infrastructure, good connections and an existing population that pass through the port and train station each day.

Working alongside Barreiro Municipality and local actions groups, the team has identified a range of potential activities that may be implemented as part of a viable and sustainable phasing strategy.

More news to follow as this exciting regeneration project develops…

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