What was the brief for the project?
The brief was to design a setting for the residential and retail buildings that improved local connectivity and legibility and to prepare a landscape design that responded to the needs of residential occupiers, members of the public passing through the site, and those attending football matches and congregating outside of the stadium before matches.
There was real delight and excitement about AFC Wimbledon coming back to Plough Lane but there was also concern what that might end up looking like so quality was stressed as a key consideration there was also public consultations and we got a round of feedback that we got from Councillors and changes were implemented throughout the process to accommodate those comments as well. Although it was not driven by public feedback.
How did you go about answering the brief?
At the start of the design process we devised set of objectives in conjunction with the client and design team to guide the development of the landscape proposals. These objectives included to tie the development into the surrounding public realm network, improving connections and routes as well as creating a sense of place for residents that is not dominated by the requirements of the football stadium.
It was also important to allow uncluttered access for football fans attending games with clear directions for entrance and exit and to provide accessible routes from the street level to the courtyards. We also tried to provide spaces that allow for people to sit alone or in small groups, or part of a larger communal event.
The landscape concept itself was centred on creating a sense of place and an environment that is safe and welcoming for the residents of the development and neighbouring communities, with a positive street scene that helps tie the area into the surrounding urban grain. It was integral that the landscape proposals help embed the architectural proposals for the residential development and the football stadium into the local context.
The masterplan team worked together to create a coherent cluster of urban blocks in the neighbourhood, improving public connections and access through the site. The landscape proposals provided an attractive and legible setting for the three residential blocks and the football stadium, which all front onto the north-south street and create new active frontages where they were once blank.
The design development of the north-south route considered how the space works and feels for residents of the development who will be using the space on a daily basis, whilst taking into account the requirements of the space for match day activities and pedestrian flows. Creating a unifying public realm, that helps connect the residential blocks and the football stadium has been central to the design, to create a positive street scene for all users.
The design of the residential courtyards was conceived as a sequence of linked spaces which respond to the form of the enclosing buildings. The design for the landscape takes its clues from the architectural treatment and the strong linear form of the street to create a series of garden spaces, composed of a combination of lawn and ornamental planting with defined areas of social and meeting spaces.
What do you believe is the most unique aspect?
The unique aspect of this project was the bringing together of a football stadium with a large mixed use, residential led development and the public realm opportunities this presented to open up the site, improving the permeability of the site and integrating it within the local urban grain.
What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for the scheme overall was how to create a landscape setting that facilitated large numbers of fans using the stadium on a periodic basis, whilst also providing an attractive an animated public realm for the residents who would be using the site on a daily basis.
To help overcome this challenge, the masterplan creates a coherent cluster of urban blocks in the neighbourhood, improving public connections and access. The landscape proposals provide an attractive and legible setting for the three residential blocks and the football stadium, which all front onto a new north-south street,Which provides primary access for the stadium and the residents.
Retail and community facilities at the base of the stadium will promote use of the site on non-match days, helping to animate the public realm. Access to the residential cores, maisonettes and courtyards are also provided around the perimeter of the residential development, including the north south street, to help generate pedestrian flow and activity across the entire development.
A restrained palette of materials provides a calm, external environment for the buildings, creating a unifying curtilage to the stadium and residential development which defines the north-south street. New street tree planting also helps to reinforce key routes, building entrances and mitigate potential wind tunnelling and help define semi-private and private spaces both in the public realm and residential courtyards.
Turkington Martin worked with Light Follows Behaviour to design an integrated and comprehensive lighting strategy that adds to the character of the development, creates a safe and enjoyable environment for residents and can facilitate changes in lighting required during match days / nights.
How did you take into the consideration the number of footfall the site is going to have in the design?
there is a pedestrian flow model taken so we knew where supporters were likely to congregate and really it was making sure that the public realm in the end was not just dominated by the stadium requirements it had marry in very well with the residential realm. We wanted it to have a domestic feel as well.
The north-south street is designed to accommodate the requirements of the football stadium on match days, when high volumes of people will be entering and exiting the area in relatively short periods of time. The design provides an uncluttered environment, maximising freedom of movement to and from the stadium.
The football stadium is going to have thousands of people entering and leaving the area so it had to be designed so they could do that very quickly so they couldn’t congregate and hang around where the residents are but they also needed to have in terms of stadium safety enough room for the people to leave.
A line of trees helps create a protected path between the main thoroughfare of the north-south street, adjacent to the stadium, and access to the maisonettes and residential cores, which will be particularly important on match days when there will be a high number of visitors in this space. Stepped access is provided to maisonettes at raised ground floor level, with small private gardens which helps to reinforce the distinction between public and private space.
How did you go about greenifying the area/ was that a consideration?
we presented a opportunity to add a level of green infrastructure across the site that didn’t exist before which was a large car park space with maybe to or three trees at the periphery and we have been able to add in almost a hundred trees, large green courtyards extended planting throughout which will improve the green infrastructure in the area.
How big was the team on this project?
The project team includes the architects, structural, civil, M&E and sustainability engineers, transport engineers and flood risk specialists as well as a full EIA team.
At planning the architects for the residential development were Sheppard Robson and for the stadium the architects were David Morley Architects.
Since planning, Galliard Homes are providing in-house architectural design and the stadium the architects are now Wilson Owens Owens.
How was the design received by the clients?
The client team, both AFC Wimbledon and Galliard Homes, are very excited about the project and the opportunities it provides. The planning approval that we helped to secure means that AFC Wimbledon can make plans to ‘bring football home’ to Plough Lane, which they see as their spiritual base.
We have been retained by GHA to develop the proposals through to tender stage which we believe is testament to their belief in the quality of the landscape design prepared as well as the quality of design and project knowledge we can provide going forward.
What is the current status of the project?
The site is currently being cleared and demolished from the old Wimbledon stadium and the stadium is expected to be completed in 2019/20 and the residential will be by around 2022. It actually starts on site in January.
I am a director at Turkington Martin and alongside our founder Ian Turkington I have been working alongside him on the project since 2013.
They key thing is how we approached the difference you get between needing to accommodate 20,000 people on match-days but also creating a fairly intimate street space for residents and that is not something I have dealt with before. Testing that through plan sections models was a real key learning point that I took away from this scheme.
This project has definitely been one of the most challenging projects as it sits within a flood-zone and there is a cultivated river beneath the site that had to be diverted and the courtyards are all on podiums. There was also HBM aspect aspect to take on board making sure that we were providing a safe space in the modern climate such as all football stadiums becoming a possible terrorist target due to the high number of people. It has been one of the most challenging projects i have ever undertaken.
My favourite aspects of the design are probably the courtyards in the way it creates an elevated street that is pedestrian only and it is heavily tree-lined and provides options to sit, it really acts as to bring residents together and meet each other rather than just a courtyard that is looked down upon. it is going to be used with also garden backing out onto it – it has potential to be a very active space and I am proud of that.