Double success for LDA Design at this year’s Landscape Institute Awards with wins for Better Queensway, for Excellence in Masterplanning and Urban Design, and for the Sighthill estate in Glasgow, which won for Landscape Construction.
The Queensway Estate in Southend-on-Sea has struggled with high crime rates and anti-social behaviour. The new masterplan by LDA Design and architects dRMM for Swan Housing Association and the borough council will bring a £500m investment into the area.
This new masterplan means four tower blocks will make way for light, modern homes. The landscape is made welcoming and playful, with a new central park and a network of connected public open spaces. The mixed-use plan includes workspaces for start-ups, plus a creche and nursery.
Critically, changing things for the better here means addressing the Queensway dual carriageway, which cuts through the estate. Currently estate residents take risks in crossing it to avoid using the underpass, especially after dark. Our work with Civic Engineers will transform this hostile environment into a tree-lined boulevard, with the road brought to surface level and speed reduced, knitting the estate more safely into the neighbourhood.
The award judges praised the scheme for being well presented with a clear design rationale. They were impressed by how the project sought to stitch together disconnected sites through the creation of new pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
The Sighthill neighbourhood also 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. Fast-forward 20 years, and Sighthill experienced the high levels of multiple deprivation typical of inner-city high-rise estates. Demolition began in the 2000s and the last block came down in 2016.
LDA Design’s holistic, landscape-led masterplan for Sighthill creates a mix of parkland, 850 new homes, educational, community and retail facilities. It will give Sighthill an exciting new identity.
The community campus, including a new school and sports facilities, was quickly brought into operation, followed by hectares of new parkland. Housing will be phased through to 2027. Morgan Sindall are leading on construction.
The award judges said the landscape-led approach for Sighthill set it apart from the other finalists and praised the work gone into preserving the site’s cultural heritage, early and frequent engagement and training opportunities. They commented on the good partnership between landscape architect team and contractor and commended the integration of sustainable green and blue infrastructure.