Wirral Metropolitan College

BCA Landscape: Bold colours and forms, robust materials, close attention to details and new blocks of coppiced willow trees transform a derelict dock edge into an iconic and memorable landscape in scale with the post-industrial waterside neighbourhood.

With Wirral Waters, the landscape setting comes first – out of which buildings can emerge.

The landscape of Wirral is striking and bold: coastal, countryside, the Great Floats, and Promenades. With a rich history – especially around the Docks – and a pioneering past – evident in the dock infrastructure: cranes, coping stones, rail tracks, granite setts and bright red bridges.

The Brief reflected the brand territories of Wirral Waters – pioneering, democratic, no barriers and a dramatic playground to create a ‘lush city waterfront with room to breathe’.

As the first project with the Wirral Waters masterplan to be completed this project sets the standard for the future phases for this ambitious development. Set within a derelict dockland the new college building and surrounding landscape needed to stand up to the sometimes extreme weather conditions whilst also bridging the transitions between historic landscape and on-going future use. Creating a landscape concept that can be continued through the wider area was a key driver for this design with materials selected for both their suitable scale as well as ability to flexibly tie in with the retained existing materials.

The client has gone to the lengths of saying that the project has set high expectations for the on-going neighbouring developments, that will in turn be measured against this project. Having challenged the desire to install balustrades along the entire dock edge, the relationship between the dock side and the water is maintained in the same way that it always has been. In addition to this the site has not been fenced in for security reasons and early concerns that this would encourage anti-social behaviour have been proven wrong, with only positive feedback reported to date. As well as the landscape amenity areas created – the car park has been designed with a single simple fall, quality paving and no obstructions – so it can be easily be converted in to an events space for special occasions.

Landscape Architects: BCA Landscape
Other designers involved in the design of landscape (architects and landscape architects): Glenn Howells Architects [Architect], Parkinson Inc [Masterplanning], Peel Holdings [Client]
Project Location: Tower Road, The Wirral, Liverpool UK
Design year: 2013
Year Built: 2015

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