Steve Warren, ISAN and Beam Seminar, Wakefield


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Steve Warren, ISAN and Beam Seminar, Wakefield

  1. 1. THE BULL RING, WAKEFIELD Estell Warren Ltd
  2. 2. TIMELINE Scheme emerged in City centre policies 2003 - 2006 Estell Warren appointed 2007 Concept design approved by WMDC Cabinet 2007 Design detailing (WMDC engineers with EW used ‘on call’ basis) early 2008 Construction period mid 2008 – late 2009
  3. 3. APPROACH Research history of place Understand policy/ strategic context Identify people & vehicle movement patterns Analyse character & views Clarify brief & design objectives Prepare & refine concept design (including consultations) Develop detailing (to reinforce concept & objectives) Deliver scheme (always check changes against original concept & objectives)
  4. 4. HISTORY Urban form - changed considerably over time, space has always been a node, previously connecting narrow, intimate Medieval streets. Triangular form of the space was lost in the 1940’s/ 50’s due to highway improvements. Previous uses – was the original market place for the old town of Wakefield. Name – there was a ‘Bull Ring’, stone set in ground with steel ring that bulls were chained to.
  5. 11. Aerial View 1920’s
  6. 12. The Springs
  7. 13. Bull Ring Late 1940’s
  8. 14. Bull Ring 1960
  9. 15. Aerial View 1964
  10. 16. <ul><li>POLICY CONTEXT </li></ul><ul><li>Projects normally have a long gestation period and people like to see them in official documents before spending cash: </li></ul><ul><li>Wakefield District Community Strategy, Fast Forward , 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>SDF (Strategic Development Framework) 2005. </li></ul><ul><li>Wakefield Strategy Plan, 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Wakefield City Centre Streetstyle Design Guide (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of words etc, important to extract what really matters: </li></ul><ul><li>Civic events space </li></ul><ul><li>Connecting space between City centre and emerging development </li></ul>
  11. 17. <ul><li>EXISTING SITE </li></ul><ul><li>Bad </li></ul><ul><li>Highway dominated </li></ul><ul><li>Planting beds, seats, some trees, mixed furniture </li></ul><ul><li>Queen Victoria statue in centre, how dare you move a former Queen….. </li></ul><ul><li>Overall - cluttered, confused space with no distinct character </li></ul><ul><li>Good </li></ul><ul><li>High numbers of pedestrians moving through (from bus station & markets) </li></ul><ul><li>Reasonably well-contained space, some good buildings </li></ul><ul><li>Strong views to Cathedral spire </li></ul><ul><li>Some existing café uses to edges </li></ul>
  12. 18. MORE ON CONSTRAINTS …… Be aware of them, make sure they are addressed but don’t let them drive the design unless that is the intention. Bull Ring constraints included: Traffic (vehicles themselves, noise, fumes, geometry of road alignment, traffic controls). Queen Victoria statue (in difficult location at centre of space). Utilities (prevent tree planting, expensive to move 250K for BT box). Flush surfaces (controversy over suitability of flush surfaces for blind and visually impaired people). Public attitude (‘ey up lad that’s a waste of money…. You cannot please all of the people all of the time, identify what matters most and stick to it). Political/ officer attitude (fear of criticism, things going wrong), use case studies & examples to help, work through difficult issues rationally. Budget – expensive is not always good, focus available money on the things that really matter.
  13. 19. 2007
  14. 20. 2007
  15. 21. <ul><li>CLARIFY BRIEF </li></ul><ul><li>The brief was quite wordy, so it was important to understand THE MAIN objectives for the space: </li></ul><ul><li>Remove clutter , open up the space as a key node within the City centre, suitable for holding civic events. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Reduce vehicular influence , allow bus movement & limited other traffic </li></ul><ul><li>3. Strengthen the pedestrian environment , reinforce movement & connection to City centre. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Create clear new identity . </li></ul><ul><li>4. Provide opportunities for relaxation, socialising, play . </li></ul><ul><li>5. Encourage business uses around the space. </li></ul>
  16. 22. KEY CHALLENGES An open/ empty space (that is good for people and has distinct character when not in use for events). Creating a good space that has traffic moving through it.
  17. 23. OUR RESPONSE
  18. 24. The effect of water combined with a Torus shape. A 3D play feature and a Civic symbol at the same time. +
  19. 25. <ul><li>Alas </li></ul><ul><li>Gut feeling has to be backed up by a little reasoning …… </li></ul><ul><li>To convince the client </li></ul><ul><li>To convince the public </li></ul><ul><li>To convince funders </li></ul>
  20. 26. <ul><li>DESIGN CONCEPT </li></ul><ul><li>Open central space (no clutter other than removable pedestrian crossing lights). </li></ul><ul><li>Flush surfaces across whole space. </li></ul><ul><li>Edge line accommodates all other functions (greenery, lights, seats) & reinforces character of space (open middle, active edges). Corten steel band creates continuous seat/ ground line. </li></ul><ul><li>Large torus fountain references place name, animates open space, reduces vehicle noise & creates play opportunity. </li></ul><ul><li>Surface materials identify vehicle/ pedestrian movements & contrast between open centre and edges. </li></ul><ul><li>Strong lighting, ring of colour to edges, white to centre. </li></ul><ul><li>Clear visual link to Cathedral spire, in combination with fountain. </li></ul>
  21. 38. Union Street Northgate Northgate
  22. 39. <ul><li>FOUNTAIN </li></ul><ul><li>Torus – literal translation of imagined form of the original iron ring that Bulls were chained to. </li></ul><ul><li>Important to imagine the ring in 3D not flat. </li></ul><ul><li>Circle of arching fountains that define a 3D space within. </li></ul><ul><li>3D form has outer edge , circular arch below jets & central space . </li></ul><ul><li>Variable jet spacing increases or decreases the chances of getting wet when moving to the centre. </li></ul><ul><li>Wind and sun create natural variation/ animation. </li></ul><ul><li>Sloping ground varies spill/ flow patterns </li></ul><ul><li>Most people probably do not care about any meaning behind the fountain but they do enjoy the 3D experiences it creates, end result must work in it’s own right as well as an idea ….. </li></ul>
  23. 45. MATERIALS PALETTE Yorkstone - pavements Dark grey granite – kerbs, channels, roadway, service zones Granite brindle – central pedestrian areas & crossings Silver grey granite – tactile at crossings & Bull Ring kerb Corten or ductile iron strips – integrated ground line & seats Ground lighting – coloured flush light strips to highlight pedestrian crossings
  24. 50. FURNITURE & GREENERY Adapted light columns – event & feature lighting, columnar hanging baskets, banners, festive lights, coloured square at night Trees – large semi-mature to give immediate presence, single species to create visual consistency along the street (suggest London Plane) Floral colour (& scent) – introduced through innovative stacked hanging baskets, creating a much bolder impact than individual baskets & avoiding clutter of planters at ground level. Seating – comfortable off the peg benches at regular intervals + bespoke linear seats at the Bull Ring
  25. 56. <ul><li>END RESULT </li></ul><ul><li>Space is still developing: </li></ul><ul><li>Highways are learning to control parking and vehicle speeds </li></ul><ul><li>Events uses emerging </li></ul><ul><li>Businesses colonising edges </li></ul><ul><li>More greenery required? (the vertical flora never happened) </li></ul><ul><li>Fountain is a real success, has become ‘image of the place’ and is good for play </li></ul>
  26. 67. <ul><li>LESSONS </li></ul><ul><li>Strong client needed to offset flak/ competing interest groups </li></ul><ul><li>Overall concept strong enough to work, simple distinctive place has emerged </li></ul><ul><li>Fine detail matters (loss of Corten and omission of ground lights weakens scheme) </li></ul><ul><li>Single paving palette across centre space would be better (but not seen as acceptable for highway safety) </li></ul><ul><li>Lights not strong enough to transform colour of space (should have kept to original simpler + powerful units) </li></ul><ul><li>Scheme is not finished when built, public spaces should evolve over time </li></ul><ul><li>Would have preferred tighter highway junction (but constrained by bus & HGV turning needs) </li></ul>
  27. 68. THE BULL RING, WAKEFIELD Estell Warren Ltd