Background to project
Once the largest iron and steel centre in the world, Barrow in Furness has a long history in steel and shipbuilding. The Maritime Streets area on Barrow Island originally consisted of tall red sandstone tenement blocks, where years of neglect had resulted in a landscape which was run down and degraded. In 2013, Maritime Streets was the location for a landscape competition run by Barrow Borough Council and the Landscape Institute. When government funding was awarded to the local authority, a decision was made to regenerate some of the residential spaces.
The winning entry was designed by landscape architects Farrer Huxley Associates, whose landscape works project focused primarily on the central car park, which was an underused and largely unplanted area filled with cars. FHA’s proposal was to remove the car park and create a central shared space where residents could socialise.
The landscaping is designed in a way to reconnect the community, using both paving and seating to create intersecting lines leading from the gardens to the apartment buildings. The scheme incorporates Marshalls Metrolinia concrete seating elements designed to create opportunities for local families to socialise.
Over 120 seating elements were strategically positioned at key points within the central landscaped area, reinforcing the message of bringing the community back together.
The robustness of the concrete coupled with the use of Douglas Fir timber provides a resilient yet aesthetically pleasing finish, creating a contemporary contrast to the surrounding red brick residential building materials.
The install of the landscaped garden area is at the heart of the success of this project, delivering a project that has made a tangible difference to people’s lives. This people-centered design has vastly improved the public realm, impacting significantly on the residential property and making it a more attractive proposition for purchase. It has also helped to encourage residents and the local community to use the space and enjoy their surroundings.
“This is a successful example of how well designed public realm can unite communities through the provision of social and equitable landscape spaces.” Jeremy Lord CMLI, Landscape Architect, Farrer Huxley Associate