Gunwharf Quays is a mixed-used sea front Urban Regeneration development in the city of Portsmouth. The project was conducted by ‘Portsmouth city council’ and ‘Berkeley Homes Southern’ and was designed by a total of 7 different architect practices (Broadway Malyan Architects, Scott Brownrigg, Gilmore Hankey Kirke, PLC Architects, The Amos Partnership, John Thompson & Partners and HGP Architects). The scheme has won 37 awards since February 2001 and has been seen as a highly successful Urban Regeneration scheme. This essay will describe the design of the Gunwharf Quays development itself including the landscaping and the architecture.
It will then analyse the history of the site and the City chronologically in order to discover the reasons for the design strategies used in the urban regeneration scheme. As the focus is on the historic influences of the site specifically, the influence of modern architecture ideas is not included. Gunwharf Quays “The Gunwharf Quays Development has had a major impact on the economy and profile of the city of Portsmouth. The quality and variety of the development has been widely praised, and its popularity has attracted many new visitors here.
It has also helped raise investor confidence in the city as a whole” Bernie Topham, Head of Economic Development and Tourism, Portsmouth City Council Gunwharf Quays is a ? 200 million mixed- use development located on the West Coast harbour of Portsmouth, just north of the Camber Dock. It is situated adjacent to a major transport interchange in Portsmouth, giving it direct access to buses, train and ferry services. The site and development project is owned and funded mainly by the Berkeley Group, along with the Portsmouth City Council who had big aims for the project leading to the final design.
The main features of the scheme included: * 17,000 sq. m of retail including speciality shopping * 17,000 sq. m of leisure; restaurants, taverns and a multiplex cinema * 310 residential units; new build and conservations * Two new hotels * 2340 car parking spaces, 1475 of these in a brand new car park below the site for retail and leisure use * 8,300 sq. m of Bars, cafes and restaurants * 1000 sq. m of office spaces * Open common areas and town access * 1,100 sq. m for open air theatre and city quays * A tourist information centre UNIT 320 PAGE 2 This map shows the layout of the site:
The site has essentially been split, with the retail and leisure for the public predominantly on the north side and the residential and office spaces predominantly on the south side. The central plaza contains a public walkway with a water canal as a feature running through the middle. Spinnaker tower (a 170m high public viewing tower), the symbol of the harbour sits on the north site adjacent to the water’s edge. The No. 1 building (a 29 storey residential tower) sits as another landmark next to the main entrance to the site. No. 1 BuildingSpinnaker Tower
Four of the original naval buildings were retained, rebuilt and reused for other new functions. These buildings are; the Vulcan building, now used for a restaurant and office spaces; The Old Infirmary, now used in the residential area; The Old Customs House, used as a pub in its original naval style and the Ariadne building, now used as a large residential area, although now rebuilt on its original site. UNIT 320 PAGE 3 The Vulcan Building The Old Customs House The historic naval boundary wall and the main gate (known as Nelson’s gate) also remain as part of the site.
Next to this gate, ‘The Lock Keepers Cottage’ remains intact. What has Gunwharf Quays done to the city? The Gunwharf Quays Development has had a positive impact on the City of Portsmouth and its economy. It has created in excess of approximately 3,500 direct and indirect jobs, through business, retail and construction. The site has attracted an extra 1. 6 million new visitors annually, national and international, to the site and the city itself, and this in turn has increased the investment of the region by ? 50 million a year (reference).
These figures are strong evidence to show its regeneration, but just how did Gunwharf Quays get here? The Beginning The City of Portsmouth first started in 1180 when a merchant called Jean De Gisors founded a town in South-West corner of Portsea Island, the piece of land which now contains Portsmouth. Before the human inhabitancy however and large proportion of the land was below sea level, making it prone to flooding, and was dotted with salt marches. It contained a natural harbour on the west coast due to sea erosion of the chalk stone.
This along with the marches made it an attractive habitat to farmers and potential settlers of the time. The village of Portchester grew in size from the increase in population and eventually led to the growth of the City of Portsmouth. Early History One of the earliest significant events within the harbour of Portsmouth is its first Royal Charter. On 2nd May 1194 Richard I was in Portsmouth with a large army and a fleet of one hundred ships waiting for the weather to improve to put to sea and cross to Normandy. It was the first event that gave the city the status of a suitable location for ship docking.
During this same year Richard I let out the land in the harbour area for the development of a Royal Dockyard for the Royal Galley’s. This land today is known as the Camber Dock and is the original birthplace of warships in Portsmouth. King’s Mill, a tidal mill, was also constructed in the 12th century and the remains of it can still be seen on the Gunwharf Quays site. The map below shows what the Harbour area would have looked like in the 12th and 13th century: UNIT 320 PAGE 4 (http://www. portsmouthnowandthen. com/general-01/gallery-streetmaps-01. html) The landscape at this time was very different to how it is today.
The manmade Gunwharf Quays area did not exist. The shoreline itself was 300 yards further back inland, roughly where the existing boundary wall is along Gunwharf road. Over the next few centuries the shoreline of the harbour was progressively reclaimed from the sea. Next to King’s Mill, a mill pond existed with a channel leading through the reclaimed shoreline to the harbour itself. This was known as Seamill Creek. Portsmouth sea defences The City of Portsmouth has, for many centuries along with others such as Plymouth and Chatham, been largely responsible for the countries defences from overseas attacks.
In 1417 two round towers were built to render Portsmouth a securer haven. They were originally built in wood, with a sister tower on the Gosport shore, but were rebuilt 60 years later from stone. The towers were the cities defences for many centuries for many years and remain there today. 1445 This year saw the construction of the first dry dock for both Portsmouth Harbour and England. It was the current king of the time, King Henry VI, who gave the order to build. The dock worked by floating a ship into a basin and allowing the water to drain from it.
By removing the water, specialist work can be done to the hull. This includes the dry job of repainting or removing rust and barnacles from underneath. Image of a dry dock (Ordinance Survey Office, Southampton) UNIT 320 PAGE 5 1521 This is the year that construction of the town’s fortification defences began, 67 years before the Spanish Armada. These defences mark a significant part of Portsmouth’s military history. The construction was completed in 1524 and the North West corner of the defences, known as Beeston’s Batistion, lies immediately inside the South entrance gate of Gunwharf quays.
Over time these defences, due to their significance and importance, have been improved and redeveloped. Sir Richard Lee made improvements in 1551 using earth embankments and a great Dyke and Sir Bernard de Gomme, Charles II’s chief engineer, made further improvements a century later in 1680. The significance of the Navy The first war ship construction of the docks was the Mary Rose, built in 1509 and finishing in 1511. However, In 1540 Portsmouth Harbour was granted an official Naval Dockyard by Henry VIII. In 1662, the first piece of Gunwharf was built, known now as Old Gunwharf.
This was constructed to accommodate the buildings required for the ever growing naval base on the Portsmouth harbour. It was developed with new buildings, such as storehouses, officer’s houses and an armoury right up until 1797. The Mary Rose warship (http://www. hnsa. org/ships/maryrose. htm) By the late 17th century, Gunwharf had become an ordinance yard for the Navy. It was responsible for storing gunpowder, cannon balls and weapons. Nelson used the docks to collect the vittelling for the HMS Victory before it set sail for the battle of Trafalgar.
The site of the Old Gunwharf began to get crowded and more land was needed in order to accommodate the still ever growing Naval Base. 1797 marked the construction of the New Gunwharf, which would be used as the site a great deal of significant buildings through the next century. (Ordinance Survey Office, Southampton) This map shows the layout of the Gunwharf barracks from the mid to late 19th century. A large proportion of the site is empty and the main naval building lay on the south side closest to the Camber Dock. (Ordinance Survey Office, Southampton) UNIT 320 PAGE 6
The map below shows the location and layout of both the old and new Gunwharf designs: The site was developed extensively in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and during this time, the construction of new Gunwharf, some of the most important and significant buildings and structures were produced. Map of the Gunwharf Site with new developments – late 19th to early 20th century (Ordinance Survey Office, Southampton) * Nelson’s Gate and the boundary walls were built in 1803. The gate formed the then main entrance into the New Gunwharf Quays area while the boundary walls enclosed the site from civilian access.
The gate still stands today as an entrance to part of the site and approximately 6m of the original boundary wall on either side remains. * The Old Customs House was originally built in 1790. This was a customs house built as an office building for the naval officers. It became such an icon of the site that it survived right up until 1986, and was restored to as a pub to its original plan shortly after. * The Old Infirmary began construction in 1800. This building was used as a hospital for both the navy and the royal marines for 60 years.
It was converted into apartments in 1859 for the increasing number of naval workers and is still used as an apartment block today. * The Vulcan Building is arguably the most famous building on the site. Construction finished in 1811 by the Board of Ordinance as a naval storehouse. With its central clock tower, this building quickly became the most prominent feature of Portsmouth harbour. Over subsequent years the building was put to a variety of uses, including makeshift offices for the underwater mine retrieval school during the First World War.
With the decline of the military use of the site, it gradually began to fall into disrepair with the clock tower and north wing burnt out in the 1941 bomb strike. It was closed in 1955 and remained disused for fifty years until it was regenerated along with the rest of the site. In 1824, due to the mixed use of both the navy and the Royal marines, a Royal Marines Artillery was constructed. The site use of both old and new Gunwharf continued to grow and Gunwharf was expanded further during 1876 meaning that the feature of Seamill Creek was filled in with concrete and the fortifications of Portsea and old Portsmouth were demolished.
The sequence of maps below show the extensive change of the site and surrounding areas through the 19th and 20th centuries: Key: The Gunwharf Site The Camber Dock 1890 UNIT 320 PAGE 7 1890 At this point the landscape does exist but is in its natural state and contains no manmade structures. The station still exists and the camber dock is formed as it is today. Overcrowding of the surrounding land is an issue. 1910 Much of the landscape is still natural although some has been used for housing and naval buildings. The Camber dock has yet more buildings on it. 1930
At this point the naval development is much more prominent on the site and the land on the seas edge has been altered into a more manmade shape. UNIT 320 PAGE 8 This map shows the layout of the New Gunwharf site in the 1930s. The navy’s fast development process can be seen by the large increase in the number of buildings. 1930 Ordinance Survey Office, Southampton UNIT 320 PAGE 8 1960 After the war, significant changes on the Gunwharf site are very visible. Many of the damaged buildings have been demolished and in some circumstances new buildings have replaced them. 970 Similar to 1960 but the building layout has changed yet again with the decline of the navy. The camber dock is considerably less overcrowded with buildings compared to the early 1900’s. UNIT 320 PAGE 9 1990 Not much has changed on site due to the abandonment of the navy, although the surrounding area has. The football stadium has gone along with some of the larger, industrial buildings. Eventually, in 1891 the Royal Marines and Navy were split. The Royal Marines used the Old Gunwharf and the Navy used the New Gunwharf.
This split of the land was the start of the movement of headquarters and offices out of the Gunwharf site. The decline After the Royal Marines vacated their barracks, due to the issue of space, they moved to the old Portsmouth site. The site as a whole began to change. More of the buildings were vacated, and the decision was made to either adapt them or demolish them. The site changed its name to HMS Vernon in 1919 (after the HMS Vernon battle ship) and the whole site became the Royal Navy’s torpedo branch and began to train deep sea divers. Further decline came shortly after the Second World War.
On the 24 August 1940, a huge bomb raid hit the Gunwharf site. Many of the buildings were badly damaged or destroyed and a large portion of the staff quarters there evacuated and eventually relocated to areas outside of the city, including Fareham and HIlsea. Many of the site’s more important buildings were reconstructed, but using minimal budget and with poor quality, taking away their original presence. Staff and workers continued to vacate and relocate and the site eventually fell into disuse and became derelict in the 1970’s. The site was finally closed in 1990.
The vision of the Berkeley Group After the sites closure, the Royal Navy considered options to prolong its naval life by relocating some of their units to Gunwharf. These plans were never pursued and it was eventually decided that the site be sold by 1991. In April 1982 a report by the city planning officer highlighted the opportunities Gunwharf offered for the regeneration of this area. A number of uses were proposed including; commercial uses requiring water front (e. g. ferry port), expansion of the fishing quay facilities, a mixed use of mainly residential and commercial office/ workshop uses.
In 1992 the whole site was declared a conservation area by the Portsmouth City Council. This meant that any development would have to respect the ‘nature’ of the site and it’s history. The Old Customs House, Vulcan building, the Infirmary and Nelson’s Gate were recorded as Scheduled Ancient Monuments, meaning that they are a significant part of any development strategy within the area. UNIT 320 PAGE 10 In 1997 the site was acquired by the Berkeley Group, A leading company in urban regeneration. They produce 95% of their projects on brown field sites but are most widely known for their residential and office developments.
However as a company, they saw the potential for a world class waterfront on the old Gunwharf site. Their vision was to create a leisure destination that offered a range of shopping and leisure facilities, designed to capitalise on the location at the mouth of Portsmouth’s busy harbour. These were the key ideas they had along with the city council: * To transform Portsmouth Harbour into an international heritage arena; * To create a world class attraction * To accelerate the economic regeneration of both Portsmouth & Gosport; * To create new, highly accessible amenities (e. . Public open space/performance areas); Create five kilometres of new promenade to form a trail around the Harbour mouth to open up land closed off for centuries; * Linking new/enhanced attractions on both sides of the harbour reflecting the area’s maritime history; * To look forward to the future with new facilities, including the landmark Harbour observation tower; * To mark the renaissance of the Harbour from one dominated by the defence industries to one where leisure commerce and defence are all important elements (Portsmouth City Council Planning Service)
Due to their inexperience with an urban regeneration scheme of this scale, they were aware they needed help with this project in order to maximise its success, and so they decided to join forces with the South African company Lordland Holdings CC. This would bring them their experience of managing the successful Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town. The North East facing elevation of the V and A Waterfront, looking into the harbour Victoria Alfred Waterfront (http://www. sa-venues. com /maps/ westerncape/vanda-waterfront . php (http://www. crictours. com/southafrica/2009/middle-order-tour. htm
UNIT 320 PAGE 11 The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in the historic heart of Cape Town’s working harbour is South Africa’s most-visited destination, having the highest rate of foreign tourists of any attraction in the country. Situated between Robben Island and Table Mountain and set against a backdrop of sea and mountain views, it offers a variety of shopping and entertainment to visitors, mixed with office locations, the Somerset Hospital, hotels and luxury apartments in the residential marina. The success of this project was influential on the eventual design of the Gunwharf Quays development.
From the outset there were many similarities between the two schemes. Both of them incorporated refurbished old buildings into a modern environment. At the Victoria and Alfred, the old Union Castle Lines office and the Port Captain’s buildings were restored and put to new uses. In Gunwharf, as many of the original naval buildings were now listed, they too would be restored and put to new uses. It was agreed that the Vulcan building with its listed mezzanine level and the old stone floor would be retained and used for a mixture of residential and commercial use.
The Old Customs House would also remain but would be transformed into a traditional style pub. They also wanted to respect the site itself and to do this they reopened the channel that had been part of the natural site before the navy’s redevelopment. They also had to respect the hazards of the site, in particular as it was prone to flooding in bad weather conditions. They raised the entire site by one meter in order to protect it from the weather and the potential climate change in the future. The mix of retail, restaurants and leisure which was proving so popular in Cape Town, it was also to be a feature of the Gunwharf Quays master plan.
The Victoria and Alfred had demonstrated that by encouraging their stores to remain open later, visitors would shop at a leisurely pace, and then stay on to enjoy the evening atmosphere, visiting one of the restaurants and bars, or the multi screen cinema. Finally, Berkeley’s management team was impressed by the vibrant events programme on offer at the Victoria and Alfred. The variety of entertainment created an exciting backdrop for a day out and presented both locals and tourists with a reason to keep coming back. With this in mind, the idea for the wide boulevards, open spaces and the marina were developed for Gunwharf Quays.
Spaces like the waterfront walkways, Central Square and Caen Marche, an area within the scheme for live entertainment, were planned to offer ad hoc performance venues, as well as to provide space for markets and temporary exhibitions. After construction began in 1998, the scheme itself was finally finished in 2008. It is now a key feature of the city of Portsmouth attracting people nationally and worldwide. It has been an influential part in the regeneration of the whole city. UNIT 320 PAGE 12 Conclusion The building styling and the Seamill Creek can be seen in this image, along with the created divide created by the landscape.
Taking these historic facts about Gunwharf Quays and the development, what were the key factors in influencing the development strategy of the site? (http://www. designbuild- network. com/contractor _images/hodgson-and-hodgson/3-gunwharf-quays. jpg) Looking back at the history of the site and the Portsmouth harbour itself dating back to the 12th century, the Navy establishment of the harbour and the whole city had a noticeable influential effect on the design of the Gunwharf Quays development. Because the history is such a significant part of the city’s heritage, the Berkeley group made sure the project incorporated it.
This is visible on the site with the landscape and the architecture in many of the restored buildings and the original but modernised styling used for the new buildings. The developments layout has also been shaped largely around the original landscape with the central water channel (Seamill creek) re opened as a feature. Not only is it a feature of the site, it also acts as a divide between the residential and the retail side of the park, thus structuring the developments master plan. The boundary wall that remains creates a specific shape for the site that also influenced the development’s layout.
As for the earlier history, while it is very important for the harbour and the town, it did not directly contribute to the design of Gunwharf Quays. However, it did contribute to the landscaping of the site itself. As history has unfolded, particularly with the impact of war, the site was recognised as a strong location for military defences and because of this, the landscape itself was reshaped in order to negate its natural complications (flooding) for construction. This shape has been retained and therefore, along with the boundary wall, has indirectly controlled the layout of the scheme produced by The Berkeley Group.
Another key design strategy influence came from the partnership between The Berkeley Group (along with the Portsmouth City Council) and Lordland Holdings CC. Using direct strategies from the previous successful waterfront scheme, the Victoria and Albert waterfront, they planned the development in a style that would bring together the strongest aspects of the site, the shape of the land itself and the history of Gunwharf and the harbour. http://www. theafricatravelblog. com/tips-advice/the-va-waterfront-in-cape-town/ Gunwharf Quays Development Victoria and Albert Waterfront http://www. dreid. com/content/93/view UNIT 320 PAGE 13 The similarities between the two schemes can be clearly seen in these images. Because of the similar locations on the waterfront, many of the successful mixed use strategies could be directly used in the later Gunwharf Development. This particular example shows the water’s edge restaurant facility and docking area on both schemes. The final development influence came from the decline of the area. One of the main agendas of the project was to create something that would not only regenerate the area, but enhance the rest of the city.
In order to achieve this, the strategy was carefully considered and this led to the creation of mixing the uses (retail, residential and leisure) of the area. This makes Gunwharf Quays different to the City Centre which stops the two competing and allows them to work together, therefore benefiting the city, local people, workers and tourists. However this strategy was also taken from the Victoria and Albert scheme. In short, this strategy was used due to its success from another development, but the idea came from the need to regenerate the city as a whole.
So the conclusion of what influenced the design is therefore based on four key factors; the past history of the harbour, the Navy’s establishment, the ideas of the Berkeley group based on the cities needs and the decline of Portsmouth. These factors have affected the development chronologically and between them have shaped the landscape, master plan layout, style of the buildings and the uses of the area. With the combination of all these considerations the full urban regeneration development of Gunwharf Quays was created and stands today.
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