Grant Associates completes public realm landscape for Bristol’s waterfront

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The final phase of public realm landscape design for Bristol’s award-winning Harbourside development has been completed by UK landscape architects Grant Associates for developer Crest Nicholson. The completion of the 15 year regeneration project comes as Bristol celebrates its status as European Green Capital in 2015 – awarded for the City’s outstanding commitment to sustainability, creativity, culture and innovation.
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Bristol Harbourside is a £120m mixed-use development on the edge of the city’s floating harbour which has regenerated the heart of Bristol’s historic waterfront. Sustainable landscape design has played a key role in the overall scheme.

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Working closely with masterplan architects Cullinan Studio, Grant Associates has transformed the derelict 6.6 hectare brownfield site of former docks and gas works into a vibrant collection of new streetscapes, waterfront walks, public open space and a sustainable urban drainage system.

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A Vibrant Series of Spaces, Routes and Public Squares
The creation of a series of spaces and routes enhances the floating harbour’s wider public realm, including new public squares and tree-lined avenues, and harbourside moorings with a new harbour inlet. Views and access to the waterfront have been opened up, in particular those of the cathedral and the previously inaccessible Harbour Walk strengthening the site’s visual connections with the city bringing the waterfront back to life.

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Sustainable Urban Drainage
A sustainable urban drainage story celebrates the passage of rainwater from the roofs of the buildings to the harbour, visible through a series of collection dishes, channels and rills, and irrigating the planting along the way. Floating reed beds along the harbour edge filter rainwater and surface water before it enters the harbour. The floating reed beds have also created valuable habitat opportunities and provide an attractive waterside setting. Other habitat opportunities include an extensive green wall, fronting onto the central public square.

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The Brunel Mile Public Walkway
The Brunel Mile, a key public walkway from Temple Meads Station to the SS Great Britain, is now realised in full. The new Millennium Promenade has opened up the final stretch of this route helping to re-energise the harbour setting with access to the water’s edge providing an appropriate approach and setting to Brunel’s historic passenger steam ship.
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A Programme of Public Art
A comprehensive programme of public art has been established with internationally renowned artists including Tim Knowles, Richard Box, Janice Kerbal and Daphne Wright working to integrate individual pieces with the wider landscape.

“The landscape of Bristol Harbourside reconnects the city with its historic waterfront. We set out to create a leading example of sustainable design, including sustainable urban drainage and water attenuation in a creative and imaginative way that enhance local species diversity and ecological richness”. — Andrew Grant, Director of Grant Associates

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Images | Grant Associates

About Damian Holmes 3148 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at