Brett Gardens

Design Team: BCA Landscape, Ellis Williams Architects

The Brett Study Garden has recently opened at the Liverpool University Campus and includes 44 enclosed study carrells, each with a window into a shared green space.

This is one of the many environmental and spatial improvements we are helping implement across the wider campus. While there are more images and details to come, we would like to start by sharing some of the process and thinking that informed this new secret study garden.

 

To get the ball rolling we asked ourselves the question – what actually makes a place conducive to the process of studying. Covid made us look again at how and where we work and study. It focused our minds and bodies on the need for fresh air and emphasised the importance of a connection with nearby nature and the outdoors. It made us realise that the enclosed environment of our homes and workplace aren’t always beneficial for our health or productivity.  

With the exponential rise in distractions that our modern lives bring us, from social media notifications to a deluge of daily emails and back-to-back virtual meetings filling every hour, our need to find positive environments to work and study in becomes ever more vital.  

So, what is it about a window with a green view that makes us feel better? Over the last few years we have been delving deeper into understanding the psychological and physiological mechanics behind this phenomenon. It’s a fascinating world that includes touch, sound and smell, and not just sight. It involves ergonomics and proxemics (are we comfortable?) and it tracks back thousands of years to see how we are still adapting as a species to the very recent arrival of Cities! 

We have been using this fascinating research to develop our own understanding and in-turn inform our design for this amazing new Study Garden at Liverpool University’s Sydney Jones Library.  

We plan to collect further user feedback over the coming months and years to help understand the effects of planting growth and seasonal changes on the various qualities of the Study Garden, including the impact of artificial light in the darkening afternoons of the Autumn term. 

[Images: Day to night comparison – View of green space from Andy’s garden shed / home office]

Garden of Reflection

Year of completion: 2013

Client: The Palace Trust

Project Team: BCA Landscape

Situated within the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace, the Garden of Reflection offers visitors of the grounds a further variation in textural, emotional and even spiritual experience.

As part of the wider re-invention of the Bishop’s Palace in Wells as a self-sustaining visitor attraction, the Garden of Reflection is the final piece in the jigsaw.

From the very start of the project the Bishop has had the intention that the
Garden of Reflection should be somewhere that can offer visitors a meditative
experience in a contemporary setting, differing from the other traditional
reflective spaces on offer in both the Palace grounds and the neighbouring
Cathedral.

The creation of a journey of discovery designed to at first heighten the senses
in the colour garden and then gradually strip away stimuli until true meditative contemplation can be approached in the calm central wooded glade.

Marine Hall Gardens

Year of Completion: 2011

Client: Wyre Borough Council 

Project Team: BCA Landscape

Hosting a series of community engagement workshops, Shared Stories, BCA Landscape and community artist Lesley Fallais encouraged local people to get involved with the coastline regeneration programme by sharing their own experiences with the design team and each other.

Developing The Mythic Coast’s The Sea Swallow story concept of making the entire coastline an area of narrated exploration, the Shared Stories were then interpreted by the design team and Smiling Wolf graphic designers. The strong graphic results, realised in cast bronze set into glimmering, sea like terrazzo help to bring the Sea Swallow story and other local influences to life.

The gardens give the waterfront venue additional functionality through the creation of an outdoor stage with space for a crowd. Nearby, at Rossall Point additional Sea Change funding created a new public observation tower and interpretation centre, for which BCA Landscape have also designed the surrounding landscape.

West End Gardens 

Year of Completion: 2010

Client: Lancaster City Council , Morecambe Town Council

Project Team: BCA Landscape, Birse Coastal

 

A major new 1 Ha public park for Morecambe at West End Gardens together with a new 1.5km promenade at Sandylands as part of the £28million coastal defence scheme. The scheme is part of a wider area regeneration initiative by the West End Partnership as developed in full consultation with the local community, and was launched with a community celebration party.
The project was delivered under a partnering arrangement with Lancaster City Council and Birse Civils. BCA Landscape are delighted that the park has become the regular home for the annual Make My Day! FREE festival jam-packed with things to make and do during which the promenade is transformed into a creative theme park for the day.

It is a celebration of making and doing things which brings the community together, particularly focussed on inter-generational activities, which has been running for a number of years.

North Bank Green, Wirral Waters

Local Authority partner: Wirral Council

Design Team: BCA Landscape, Shed KM

Funding: Peel L&P & Homes England

 

The Vision

To create a new, highly sustainable, useable, exemplar ‘village green’ that is ‘of Wirral’ and sits at the heart of the residentially led North bank neighbourhood regeneration area in Wirral Waters.  The south facing [1/2 acre] waterside North bank Green has been designed to be the focal and congregation point for a new emerging community.

It also serves to open up the waterside to the wider public – an area that has been inaccessible since the Docks were built. North bank Green sits between the Belong Extra Care Village and the Urban Splash / Peel L&P East Float housing scheme – both of which are now on site.

We are thrilled to reveal this ground-breaking new NET Climate-Positive neighbourhood park on Wirral Waters, inspired by the fascinating history of the area and the latest thinking on sustainable ‘nature based’ design solutions.

“The new public realm and green spaces now installed along North bank gives prospective residents and investors their first glimpse of the dramatic improvements we’re making to regenerate the dockland area and the quality of the residential neighbourhood being delivered.” – Richard Mawdsley, Director of Development for Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters

1 – Utilising integrated ‘nature based’ design solutions to help society adapt to climate change, reduce flood risk whilst simultaneously enhancing the environment.

2 –   A whole new ‘green’ site ecology created from a derelict contaminated site – with 90 new trees and 1000’s of new plants, including a wide range of native species.

3 – Creating a site-specific unique design narrative and aesthetic inspired by the location and its rich industrial history.

4 – Up-cycling of materials from the dockland site, creating a rich material palette and saving on raw materials and avoiding unnecessary waste.

Please see a pdf download link to further details and images below.

download here

Glade of Light

Design Team: BCA Landscape, Smiling Wolf, Galliford Try, Civic Engineers, Medieval Quarter Masterplan by Planet-IE

Awards: ICE NW Civil Engineering Special Recognition Award Winner, Longlisted – Dezeen Awards 2022, International Loop Design – People’s Choice Awards

It has been an honour to be chosen to help the bereaved families and the wider team imagine and realise this memorial garden. The design ideas and thoughts behind the ‘Glade of Light’ have always come from a place of heart-felt respect and deep sympathy. We believe design is about and for people and it is not a fixed thing on a plan, but consists of an ever-changing, living and shifting series of moments. Our wish for this garden is that it will allow everyone to linger in these moments and search for stillness.

In Japanese culture the language of stillness can be described by a single word – Ma. Designing for Ma is about creating moments of self-awareness and quiet. It can be difficult to find in our busy lives. Ma is the momentary pause in speech needed to convey meaningful words, the silence between the notes….

The process of remembrance and healing is always on-going and needs space, understanding and time. We hope the Glade in some small way can help with this process and it speaks of silence, as opposed to noise and of restraint, as opposed to excess. We sincerely hope it becomes a special place where we can all briefly pause time, find a place of stillness, reflect and dwell a while.

Longlisted for the 2022 Dezeen Awards
LOOP Design Awards - Shortlisted
Winner Supreme of The Surface Design Awards
Commended for the 2022 Natural Stone Awards
2023 Civic Trust Awards
2023 Planning Awards - Shortlisted

North Bank East

Design Team: BCA Landscape, ShedKM, Urban Splash

Awards: Shortlisted for the Housing Design Awards 2021

Year of completion: 2016 – ongoing

 

Northbank is a mixed typology and tenure residential-led quarter, with local community uses, offering a bespoke, more tranquil living environment. A quarter offering city living with ‘space to breathe’, ‘off the beaten track’, with access to the waters-edge and a short walk away from other quarters and world destinations.

A new waterside residential quarter featuring 347 pioneering, modern, modular homes is coming to Wirral Waters. Urban Splash developers and architects Shed KM are bringing their factory-built modular home HOUSE to Merseyside for the first time.

BCAL have designed and delivered advanced landscape infrastructure works, including a new adoptable cycleway and street tree planting along the Dock Road. They have also designed and submitted for planning a design vision for a new Community Park and additional Dockside landscape works to compliment a series of new phased residential developments along the Northbank East Float.

“Working in this joint venture with House by Urban Splash we will transform East Float into a contemporary waterside community for anyone looking to make Wirral Waters their home. Together with the new public realm, that includes new pocket parks and dockside walkways, these innovative new homes from Urban Splash will help create a new exciting, diverse and healthy community.” – Richard Mawdlsey
Director of Development for Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters

Stonyhurst College

Budget: £35,000

This peaceful retreat garden is a new and welcome addition to the historic grounds of the world renowned Stonyhurst College. Adjoining this is a restoration project of an early 19th century water mill which for decades had stood roofless and abandoned until it’s recent conversion to a religious education centre and retreat.

The journey is created through a series of connected spaces each having their own characteristics and purposes. It starts with a narrow lane with a glimpse of a sculpture through a slice in the hedge, signifying a path and a journey to be embarked upon. This then leads into a transition space with the use of simple shapes, symmetry and a grid of uniform trees is meant to cleanse the mind and prepare it for reflection. Through another gap in the boundary this route opens up into a large seating area with a square of pleached trees and a central focal point. Spaces are enclosed by sandstone walls and hedging to create an introspective sequence free from any external distractions. As you enter the final space of this series it opens up to a large meadow with a clear path cut through it and a bold backdrop of Wester Red Cedars.

St. Mary’s Quarter, Elephant Park, London 

Budget: £4.7m (across multiple phases)

Project Team: BCA Landscape, John McAslam, AFL, Squire + Partners, Axis, Robert bird Group, TUV-SUD, AKT, URS, DP9

Lend Lease’s ‘One The Elephant’ (OTE) scheme was the first phase of ‘Elephant Park’ the UK’s first Climate Positive Development, providing 3,000 homes,  1,200 new trees and an energy hub giving net zero carbon heat and hot water to all homes.

OTE then became the first phase of the St Mary’s Quarter project for Southwark Council, which expanded to include the re-modelling of St Mary’s Park and the adjacent ‘Uncle’ PRS scheme in Newington Butts for developers Realstar, together with The Castle Leisure Centre and Southwark Playhouse Theatre.

The resulting integrated new public realm project across a variety of public and private areas in various ownerships, provided an extensive new and improved green infrastructure which included green walls (irrigated from water harvested in blue roof areas), jet plazas and mirror pool water features, balancing pond (fed by recycled surface water), a major new play area and a number of semi-private roof gardens including allotments for the new residential developments.

BCAL worked closely with the Architects (Squire and Partners, John Mc Aslan, Space +Place, and Axis/Sheppard Robson), the Southwark Borough engineers and TFL to craft a carefully coordinated pedestrian and cyclist friendly public realm which largely excludes vehicles and provides a major boost to the health and well-being of local residents.

New play areas, fountains, ponds, mirror pools, roof gardens, blue roof – SUDS system, green wall and extensive public seating are provided under groves of mature pine trees.