Extensive public realm enhancement project in the centre of Bath, with an annual footfall of 24 million people through the spaces. The proposals focused on a transformation of the main square at SouthGate and Brunel Square outside the train station to create meaningful, engaging areas of public realm which encourage people to dwell in a new series of green, vibrant external spaces.
The design forms of elements like the planters, seating and playful mounded landforms take their cues from cultural associations with Bath and the West Country – circular forms of the architecture, high quality handmade bronzework, a celebration of the written word and playful references to the local landscape character of combes, apple orchards and the legend of the Seven Hills of Bath.
Working alongside the Holburne Museum and a number of local primary schools, we developed the theme of ‘an A-Z of what Bath means to me’ which culminates in the handcrafted bronze script incorporated into the feature lantern at the heart of the space, which lights up to reflect the wording onto the surrounding walls and floorscape during the evening.
- SouthGate hosts a series of successful events throughout the year, connecting in with the City’s busy festival programme. The new placemaking designs continue to foster these events by being flexible enough to be moved around during ‘event’ mode whilst also enhancing the space during ‘every day’ mode when there are no events on
- Espalier apple trees are trained around a handmade bronze framework to create a ‘circle’ of apples, representing the archetypal ‘Circus’ and Crescent’ architecture of Bath and referencing the traditional apple orchards of Somerset
- The lawned mounds seek to reinforce Bath’s DNA further through their representation of the ‘combes’ characteristic of the local area – hollows in which to dwell
- The planting palette changes throughout the year with the summer scheme used to echo themes of an ‘English Country Garden’, with an eclectic mix of perennials and edibles celebrating the vibrant festival scene of Bath. Vivid colours and forms make for an eye-catching display and plant species are tailored throughout the year to ensure that pollinator plants are present over an extended season for bees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects
British Land / AVIVA
Mike Griffin, Reuben Gracias, Macgregor Smith, SouthGate Bath