The initial phase of this new business park in Sunderland consists of five new office buildings, arranged around a central courtyard. Livingston Eyre was responsible for the landscape design from concept stage through to completion.
The proposals were inspired by a feature of the local wetland setting, Joe’s Pond, a deep freshwater pond that is part of nearby Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve. The central courtyard therefore features a crescent-shaped natural pond planted with native aquatic and marginal species to encourage wildlife.
A timber viewing-deck extends out over the pond, whilst gentle earth mounding, planted with colourful willows, reinforces the crescent form. Nearer to the buildings, more ornamental species are introduced, but the planting retains a wild, informal character. Lushly planted pergolas connect the two-storey buildings, interrupted by small squares that lead out into the courtyard from the glazed atria.
The periphery of the site was designed to tie in with the existing ‘green corridors’. These have been established as part of the overall masterplan, and reflect the woodland, wetland and meadow habitats of Rainton Meadows. The planting includes native tree and shrub species, together with areas of wildflower meadow.
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–with: Andrew Lett Architects status: completed 2006
–BALI Award for mainly soft landscaping over 1ha 2007