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WE ARE RECRUITING ………..

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We are searching for a talented individual to be part of our friendly team based just south of Bristol

If you are a graduate with 2 years’ office experience, have good design ethos and excellent CAD and graphic skills we need you to help us with a range of sustainable and creative schemes.

Please apply to bristol@novelltullett.co.uk, with your CV and compact portfolio (max 5 pages)

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Using water as a creative design tool

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Are you hearing a lot about SUDS and WSUD* at the moment?

Out of season we tend to forget how devastating flooding can be to communities and property, but planning for water is an ongoing and pressing need. While increasing attention is given to surface water run-off on development sites this is a piecemeal solution and only the start of better water management. Its time for SUDs to stop being a tick box for the developer to get planning consent and for the industry to tune into this great galvanising design opportunity – an essential which adds lasting environmental value.

Catering for water capacity from the outset can make a holistic scheme with embedded benefits for wildlife as well as local communities living in proximity to a biodiverse environment. It also adds a structuring logic to the way that we design. Making sense of how levels work and keeping water at the surface is essential to the success of the system so that water brings all its benefits to living organisms, as well as playing its light refracting dance which people love. Resist at all costs the closed circuit of pipes and culverts, use rills and channels, streams and swales, pools and ponds to ensure that water is live, visible and vital.

There is a compelling draw to water, it can focus and give spatial quality to public space, conjures delight and adds value to waterfront development, aiding identity and character. It also brings additional layers and diverse design ideas to the scheme, inspiring contemplation and a sense of wellbeing to residents and visitors alike.

While residential schemes provide opportunities for small scale schemes our city centre project for Peterborough (a city with long flooding history) included the retention and reuse of water within the public realm in a series of integrated and diverse solutions which reduced the rigidity of the streetscape, provided seasonal change in transformational and versatile spaces.

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FIELDS OF WHEAT

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Image courtesy of Agostino Osio: Stefano Boeri ‘Bosco Verticale’ stands above the wheatfield

The final harvesting is happening now in our part of Somerset. Long eared barley, Hordeum distichon, is the last of the crops to be taken in and we can see the combines out working across the fields during lunchtime walks. The open wheatfields are part of the mosaic of woodland, pasture or grass leys at the estate where we work, a landscape which has been farmed in much the same way for generations. What we take for granted here though can be a surprising intervention, even an otherworldly experience, in an urban situation.

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COMING IN FROM THE COLD

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freezing-cold-wallpaper-1When I was a child, central heating was still uncommon and our house was draughty, partly heated, and only warm in particular zones.  My mother complained if doors were left open and was always telling us to put on more clothes as we “looked cold”.  My father by contrast would stride outside, bringing in wood and great wafts of fresh air.  He never mentioned the cold and enjoyed being outside, logging or working on the garden.

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Out damned spot

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movement of all 1755b

Relax, no murder has been committed – the stain is mulberry juice.

We were lucky to be given the key to a secret courtyard in Bristol which is filled by a mature Mulberry tree – Morus nigra – hung with fruit. The dark, black-red fruit are like loganberries, sweet, juicy and easily crushed. Our scrumpings went into a glamorous, late summer party cake, got crushed into juice and eaten with muesli for breakfast – local, versatile fruit full of vitamins!

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URBAN BEES AND THE UK PAVILION AT MILAN EXPO 2015

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pool 029 72

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chatting with Joe Wheatcroft in Source – a great deli in St Nicks market Bristol – led me to a close encounter with some urban bees last week. It was Joe’s idea to get some hives located on the market roof and after several years of trying, an approach to the new managers of the market paid off. Since the late spring Joe’s bee hives have been insitu with 2 colonies of bees now being built up.

Unseen by those shopping below, the hives are located within the shelter of high parapet walls, the roof is sunny, quiet, undisturbed and remarkably close to large sources of pollen. The landscape of Castle Park provides a huge reservoir of tree pollen with Limes being favourite species, but there are also a lot of cherry trees, satellite beds of vegetables and lavender hedges.

The beekeeper Quintin, with his Iraqi beekeeping mentor, deconstructs the hive, lifting out screens alive with bees dazed by pollen and a gentle puff of smoke. The hives have the brood area in the lowest part of the structure closest to the entrance. Here the Queen lays her eggs in a rugby shaped arc and the eggs are tended by the drones. In the layers above this the bees lay down pollen which becomes honey once it is regurgitated and the moisture levels reduced. Here it is stored for the winter and sealed off by a layer of wax once the cell is full. These upper frames are only taken by the beekeeper once he is sure that the hive has enough food store to last the winter.

According to the Guardian:
Bees pollinate a third of everything we eat and play a vital role in sustaining the planet’s ecosystems. Some 84% of the crops grown for human consumption – around 400 different types of plants – need bees and other insects to pollinate them to increase their yields and quality. These include most fruits and vegetables, many nuts, and plants such as rapeseed and sunflowers that are turned into oil, as well as cocoa beans, coffee and tea. Crops grown as fodder for dairy cows and other livestock are also pollinated by bees. And it’s not only food crops that rely on bee pollination, cotton does as well. As a result, annual global crop pollination by bees is estimated to be worth $170bn.

So it isn’t just for honey making that the bee performs a vital role in food production. Yet colonies of bees are vulnerable and may be lost to colony collapse, falling prey to Varroa mite and other parasites. In the southwest we lost 30% of colonies over last winter alone, so encouraging and sustaining bee populations should be high on everyone’s list.

Our colleague, artist Wolfgang Buttress, (designed the columns in our scheme at the Podium in Broadmead) has recently completed the extraordinary scheme for the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo which is designed to highlight the plight of the honeybee. You can see Wolf’s evocative structure on the link below.

Uk pavilion Milan expo 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links

http://www.source-food.co.uk/
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/17/why-are-bees-important
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=104&v=vjQnOdZ9DHA
http://www.wolfgangbuttress.com/expo-2015/

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MILFORD DOCK

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We are delighted that our public realm scheme for the regeneration of Milford Dock in Pembrokeshire has received planning consent. It is part of a £70 million transformation of the historic fishing town by the Port of Milford Haven which will combine traditional maritime industry with tourism, retail, leisure and housing. With our colleagues Turley, we have incorporated public spaces, new cycle and pedestrian routes, shared space and a seaside garden as well as a special ecological area where the freshwater stream meets the harbour.

Here are some of our sketches and visualisations of what is to come.

View from sea 1

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Freezeway

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Freezeway 2       Edmonton Freezeway

When we tell people we are landscape architects, we often get the comment: ‘Oh I keep thinking about doing something with my garden…’

While we do design gardens, it’s not all we do. One of the joys of being a #landscapearchitect is that the role draws on so many different skills and is only limited by imagination. So it is gratifying to read that it is a landscape architect who has designed a new ‘Freezeway’ for Edmonton in Canada.

The simple premise, by Canadian student Matthew Gibbs, is that in a city where the winter temperature averages at -12 degrees Celsius, why not flood an 11km long disused rail track leading into town to create an icy commuter skating route into the city centre. ‘I wanted to look at what it would take to make people fall in love with winter.’ Said Gibbs.

It captures the essence of landscape architecture completely – making the city more liveable, reducing pollution and energy use, providing opportunities for health and wellbeing, boosting the local economy and harnessing simple, people-orientated design.

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Beach – the quintessential public space

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Take one beach – Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire, public space to die for!

What makes a beach such an uplifting space?

After all it’s leaky on the one side – all that sea and its shingle sucking surf, with a view that stretches flat to the horizon, whilst the other side is hemmed in by near vertical cliffs.   Sure there’s the clean sweep of sand, the flat even toned, satisfyingly firm strand that denotes the path of the waves and their recent past, and beyond that the powdery stuff that sticks to your feet and a smattering of arch damaging pebbles.  Then there are the intermittent rocks which tend to blur the essential composition, but whose bases are stuck in pools of warm water, where the rippled sand base is a microcosm echoing the whole beach structure, a beach within a beach.  And that cold stream of fresh water that issues from the cleft in the rocks where the path down is also cut through, how slick it carves its course perpendicular to the waves.

Such a simple composition, so satisfyingly clear – the sea, the sand and the cliffs – yet the myriad junctions, the shape and form of each element their overlapping, shifting, warping tilt brings ceaseless adjustment to the balance of the whole.  Is that what makes it so compelling?

And we haven’t even begun to talk about the air………………. or the games people play on the beach.

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Chatham Dockyard Placemaking

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Last week Jane spent 4 days holed up in Chatham Dockyard with a hugely creative group of people, artists and makers from the Crafts Council; urban designers in a number of guises and students from Kent University School of Art.  After a day of site exploration, visits to the ropery, lectures on a geographer’s approach to site and Sue Clifford’s* exhortations to make place and design fit seamlessly and irrevocably together, the teams gradually evolved their responses to the site guided loosely by the brief set by Kent Architecture Centre and the Crafts Council.

Jane worked with Rebecca Gouldson, a metalsmith with a fantastic eye for the patina, quality and potential of metal as it changes with heat and exposure to acid.  Their joint response to the film set space once occupied by the mast pond and framed by a great array of buildings from 18th century brick houses; vast, domed, covered slips through sombre, painted, timber drying sheds and clap-boarded chandleries was all about process, direction and connection.  Illustrations here show how their ideas were designed to give a strong sense of orientation across the featureless site of the mast pond and intended to guide visitors in their approach to the dockyard.  The installation would entail a series of huge metal structures evoking the masts rising from the pool, interpreted by flat sheets of water.  The metal structures would be patinated, distressed and eroded to reflect the process of decay and changing fortune of the dockyard.

Rebecca’s work can be seen at http://www.rebeccagouldson.co.uk/index.html

*Common Ground http://www.commonground.org.uk/

Crafts Council www.craftscouncil.org.uk/

Kent Architecture Centre http://architecture-centre.org/

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