Pop the corks. LDA Design projects have made the final in six categories for this year’s Landscape Institute Awards. Each project seeks to drive the change we need to see with key actions on climate breakdown and biodiversity loss. The incredible transformation of the Sighthill estate in Glasgow is up for two awards.
Better Queensway – Excellence in Masterplanning and Urban Design
The Better Queensway masterplan is a once-in-a-generation, £500m investment for Southend-on-Sea. The masterplan is designed by LDA Design and dRMM for Swan Housing Association and the borough council and draws on the landscape to create a sense of belonging and balance.
Queensway estate’s four tower blocks, which have historically struggled with high crime rates and anti-social behaviour, will make way for light, modern homes each with private outdoor space, as well as shared podium gardens. The playful landscape includes a central park, integrated play and a new network of public open spaces.
Key to Better Queensway is the transformation of the environment created by the Queensway dual carriageway into a greener, safer route with the road brought to surface level and speed reduced. Civic Engineers input to improve mobility has been vital.
Colne Valley Western Slopes – Excellence in Sustainable Infrastructure
Colne Valley Western Slopes is an ambitious plan to create a new nature reserve from chalk excavated from HS2 tunnelling under the Chilterns.
The scheme, led by LDA Design and Jacobs as part of the Align joint venture, will rewild 127 hectares of arable land to create wood pasture, wetlands and flower-rich grassland. There are only 800 sq km of calcareous grassland left in England and this will be the largest site in the Chilterns.
The new wildlife haven will use all three million tonnes of chalk excavated from a 10-mile tunnel. Around 4.5km of new footpath, cycling and horse-riding routes will give the public areas to large parts of the site, which sits between the Colne Valley Regional Park and the Chilterns AONB.
There will be final seeding and planting of trees and shrubs in 2025.
Ecosystem Resilience Field Guide in Excellence in Biodiversity Conservation and Enhancement
Biodiversity loss is at its worst. In Wales, in common with the rest of the UK, intensive farming and forestry, combined with increased pollution, resource exploitation and transport and urban extensions have resulted in a decline in biodiversity that’s been accelerating since the 1970s. No habitats in Wales possess all the factors required for resilience, so urgent action is needed.
Developed by LDA Design and Environment Systems for Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru / Natural Resources Wales, the Ecosystem Resilience Field Guide is designed to drive coordinated action across Wales in support of sustainable management of precious natural resources. It demonstrates how key interventions – bold and simple – can make a significant difference to four characteristic Welsh landscapes: lowlands, uplands, coastal and urban by 2050. The Guide – the first of its kind – is available online. Special thanks to the Nature Recovery Action Plan (NRAP) Ecosystem Resilience and Restoration Group.
OurWorld Bristol – Excellence in Visualisation and Digital Practice
Bristol Zoo is moving. Struggling to make its ageing infrastructure meet the needs of its animals and visitors, the Bristol Zoological Society is selling its historic city centre site. The current site is slated to become private housing.
OurWorld Bristol sets out an alternative and exciting future for the Zoo and Gardens by providing an immersive experience, enabling visitors to travel in space, time and scale to experience animals in their natural habitat. This virtual world sits within plans to enhance the historic gardens.
OurWorld Bristol uses technology to help us understand our past and our future, and how different ecosystems fit together. It brings together ideas developed by LDA Design, the Eden Project and a collaboration between the University of Bristol, the University of Bath and UWE Bristol.
Sighthill TRA – Excellence in Place Regeneration and Excellence in Landscape Construction
The Sighthill neighbourhood has long had a strong community, let down by isolation, poor amenities and low-quality housing. In the 1960s, its ten towers, a ten minute walk from Glasgow city centre, were home to 7,500 people
Demolition began in the 2000s and the last block came down in 2016. Glasgow City Council was determined that what came next gave residents a much better deal. LDA Design’s landscape-led masterplan for Sighthill creates a mix of parkland, 850 new homes, educational, community and retail facilities.
The first housing also completes soon with Morgan Sindall leading on construction. Central to the vision was ensuring that a functioning and beautiful neighbourhood was available to residents from day one, with a strong and sustainable network of distinctive green streets and spaces.
All eyes on November when the awards are announced. View the finalists