North Dock

The strategic development plan for the North Lotts and Docklands areas identifies a series of public ‘green’ courtyards to be delivered as part of individual Planning Schemes. This design opportunity, a small west facing space flanked by seven storey, austerely restrained buildings, needed something rich in contrast, perhaps even irregular and complex to register its presence.

Wintertide Ltd.

North Dock

Relationship of the courtyard to North Wall Avenue and new retail spill out

The scheme unfurls to reveal gentle surprises as one is drawn inwards. One sees chunky red sandstone crossings, spanning a shallowly recessed stream of vegetation that looks like it’s sprung forth from a crevasse, clusters of flowering plants arch over wide benches, softened by wide bullnosed curves, all under a developing tree canopy.

Flush bridges through "valley" to form connections between the blocks
Bright paving and furnishings lift the tone of the the courtyard's partially shaded aspect

The woodland evocation of the planting is a conscious response to scale and as the canopies develop will eventually form a leafy overhead cover. The planted areas are all in real ground with a deep freely draining substrate, set lower than the paving and then crossed by substantial stone inserts reading as bridges in a contrasting red sandstone against the prevailing grey granite.

Retractable screen with planted pockets

Softened by the nature of the planting and detail, the scheme also has a crispness that works well and signifies urban quality. Early and late nectar species are worked through the evergreen ground covers and the use of Metasequoias as large feature trees is already providing nesting sites. This landscape is practical, robust and responsive to the built forms enclosing it and adds another green link in the urban ecology chain while imperceptibly improving the quality of life of those who encounter or use it.

Roughened setts used in lieu of proprietary skateboard guards on bench

Colin Torpay /
Senior Landscape Architect

Bernard Seymour /
Managing Director

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