CONSULTANTS have been appointed to design the public spaces in Cork’s docklands region, earmarked for massive regeneration.
The city council signed the €900,000 contract with Mitchell + Associates Landscape Architects yesterday.
A team at Mitchell + Associates’ Cork office will lead a consortium of consultants who will prepare detailed designs for roads, footpaths, plazas and amenity areas along the north and south quays, the proposed District Centre Plaza on Centre Park Road, Kennedy Park and Monahan Road’s Linear Park.
Specialist arts and culture advice will also be sought as part of the commission to ensure that the docklands’ public spaces will be available for use as artistic performance space and for public art installations.
Landscape architect Edward Frampton, who manages the company’s Cork office, will lead the project.
“We want to build on Cork’s heritage and create something fresh, new and modern and of international significance,” he said.
His team will draw inspiration from the river, the city’s topography, the docklands’ industrial uses, the old racecourse and the Showgrounds to create vibrant streets and open spaces.
The project will take about a year, at which point the designs will be available for public consultation.
Despite the collapse of the building industry, Pat Ledwidge, the director of services for the Cork Docklands Directorate, said the vast docklands area east of the city still offers an exciting opportunity to develop high-quality, accessible public spaces.
And he said city officials expect two major planning applications for key docklands sites in the coming weeks.
Templeford Ltd is expected to lodge plans to redevelop the Marina Commercial Park, and plans are also expected for the nearby Topaz site.
The two sites, comprising some 12 hectares, are in the dockland’s planned district centre and represent about 10% of the developable docklands region.
“In pressing ahead with the acquisition of design services for the public realm areas of the docklands project, the city council is reaffirming its commitment to the project,” Mr Ledwidge said.
“The results of this contract will reduce the degree of uncertainty for developers and will ensure that each of the proposed developments fit together as envisaged by our local area plans for the docklands.”
Mitchell + Associates has worked on the design of O’Connell Street and Dorset Street in Dublin, and Eyre Square in Galway.
It is also involved in the landscape side of the design of a visitor centre at the Giant’s Causeway on the Antrim coast. The visitor centre, which will be built into the landscape leading towards the world-renowned UNESCO site, will feature a grass roof grown from local seed.
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