Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor areas, landmarks and structures to achieve environmental, social-behavioural or aesthetic outcomes. It involves the systematic investigation of existing social, ecological and soil conditions and processes in the landscape and the design of interventions that will produce the desired outcome.
The scope of the profession includes landscape design, site planning, storm water management, erosion control, environmental restoration, parks and recreation planning, visual resource management, green infrastructure planning and provision and private estate and resident landscape master planning and design; all varying scales of design, planning and management.
Axis Mason is a diverse team of designers, place-makers, thinkers and collaborators, who engage with clients, listen to aspirations and provide innovative and effective deigns solutions based on the team’s wealth of experience. Through strong leadership, Axis Mason balances efficient teamwork with an exciting approach to the creative processes to deliver outcomes that enrich people’s lives.
The company’s Jersey office has completed a number of noteworthy landscaping projects over the past few years, setting a high bar for innovation and creativity. PREMIER CONSTRUCTION CHANNEL ISLANDS spoke to Leah Bliss, Associate at Axis Mason Landscape, to find out more.
Charing Cross is a mixed-use scheme in the centre of St. Helier. Crucial to the development was the transformation of an unsightly lane into a key pedestrian route and piece of public art. Leah said:
“We worked with the Co-op and a local public art advisor to conceive the design. In this case the artwork forms the fabric of the street itself. Bands of granite paving zig-zag down the lane and text engraving references key moments in the Jersey’s history to create an engaging timeline. Recessed lighting has also been programmed to send a pulse down the street to represent the flowing town brook that is culverted below the lane.
“It was a very collaborative project and we worked closely with art consultants Public & Private Ltd, engineers T&G Ltd, stone specialists Granite Le Pelley and UK drainage and lighting companies.
“The real challenge came with laying the stone and with designing a strategy for surface water. The zig-zag pattern demanded a bespoke, angular slot-drain and the paving had to be laid in segments, each with a different fall gradient. Worth the effort though and all thanks to a supportive, ambitious client.”
The Westmount development in St. Helier is comprised of 245 one, two and three bed apartments. All apartments benefit from private balconies or roof terraces. Formerly an industrial site and quarry, Westmount had been closed off for many years prior to its regeneration. The luxury development has proved to be a hugely popular addition, and its shared gardens are a key feature. Leah commented:
“The overall project was about realising a change of use. The site was transformed from a quarry into a new residential hub. From a landscape perspective, it was about healing the scars of industry and creating a landscape that would celebrate its setting. The rock face has now been stabilised via hydro-seeding and engineered reinforcement. It forms a dramatic backdrop to the apartment blocks that splay out to frame a series of garden spaces. This arrangement allows maximum light into the site and affords stunning views towards the coast and town.
“The gardens themselves have lots of stroll paths and areas for seating. They are also designed to be enjoyed from above. Planting has been installed to provide seasonal interest and a swathe of wild meadow has proved particularly successful at the main entrance. The scheme has created a new pathway to access the Jewish cemetery located next to the site.”
Due for completion in summer 2020, Samares is the redevelopment of a redundant horticultural site in Jersey to create 200 new homes. The development is broken into a series of pavilion apartments and terrace courtyards that relate to the smaller urban grain of the surrounding context, whilst establishing a series of distinct spaces or neighbourhoods.
The creation of distinct neighbourhoods is reinforced through the use of different materials, varied architectural details, pocket green spaces and a landscape strategy for each zone. Leah commented:
“The aim was to make each communal garden a focal point for each courtyard community. Each garden has areas for rest and play and a sense of privacy. In the more public zones, in particular along the western flank of the site, we are creating a linear park that accommodates a cycle track running the full length of the site. It is an extension of the cycle network that the States of Jersey is looking to expand across the whole island.
“It is also bordered by land that will be maintained for wildlife. In fact, the whole site has a generous wildlife buffer zone. This includes native planting but also a lot of habitat creation in the form of ponds and stone/log mounds for invertebrates and insects. We even have hedgehog friendly fencing!
“The scheme connects into adjacent neighbourhoods too so that more people can benefit from the green spaces on offer.
“Another key element for this particular project is its use of sustainable urban drainage. It must be one of the biggest sites in Jersey employing SUDS and will be an exemplar for responsible water management.”
Hameau De La Mer
Hameau De La Mer is a residential scheme consisting of housing and landscaping suitable for the over 55s. Meaning ‘hamlet by the sea’, Hameau de la Mer is a reflection of its stunning location and totals 54 dwellings.
The oceanic theme of the development is particularly prevalent in the landscape design, as Leah explained:
“It’s an award-winning scheme and the landscape is integral in that all the houses and apartments are clustered around a focal amenity space. These gardens are designed to encourage social interaction.
“It’s right by the coast so we’ve used a maritime language through the use of pebble mulch and timber sleepers, which give each property its own defensible zone. The silvered sleepers have also been cut at varying heights and the overall effect is this undulating wave. Grasses spill between these timbers and it’s created an attractive, beachy look.
“There is a gazebo overlooking a pond area and a petanque pitch. The development has also allowed for some key connections with the surrounding area and village thereby benefitting local connectivity.
Founded in 1998, Waddington Architects has evolved into one of the largest firms of architects, interior designers and landscape architects based in Jersey, providing award-winning, design-led but client-focused professional services across all sectors.
College Gardens is an exceptional and prestigious £38m re-development project which has created one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments complete with allocated parking, extensive private landscaped gardens and a gym for residents, on the site of one of Jersey’s most iconic buildings – the former Jersey College for Girls at La Pouquelaye.
Waddington Architects were part of the design team at College Gardens and provided an integrated design for the whole site. The project preserved and enhanced the landscape settings to the listed, former Jersey College for Girls building by retaining and restoring the historic landscape features, Protected Open Spaces and mature listed trees. The landscape also provides a seamless transition between the old and new architecture and reflects the history and character of the former school.
There are 187 apartments on site, 28 of which are located in the restored formal school building. The new buildings are ‘hidden’ behind the listed building, in front of which there is a large sunny garden with mature trees.
Speaking to PREMIER CONSTRUCTION: CHANNEL ISLANDS FOCUS about the project, Urszula Kochanowska from Waddington Architects said: “I was involved in the full scope of the project, from the concept and detail design to implementation on site. I was responsible for both hard and soft landscape, as well as dealing with planning and other parties. The brief was pretty much dictated by the restrictions on site and planning policies by the existing and new buildings. I just had to cleverly integrate it all together with the right landscape design.”
At College Gardens Waddington Architects tried to create ‘community hubs,’ spaces within the garden which will encourage the residents to spend more time outdoors and therefore improve their wellbeing and community engagement. There are gazebos, pergolas, game/picnic tables, a reading pavilion, gym, petanque court and a large sunny lawn to enjoy.
Original features like the Greek Theatre, walls, gates and lighting globes have been carefully restored and provide character and a unique sense of space to the site by reflecting in the sites history. The historic references are also included in the carved granite pieces located at the end of the formal lawn that reflects the alumni of the college and the changing role that woman have played in society during the 19th and 20th Centuries. Students from the Jersey College for Girls, together with a local artist, were involved in workshops to develop concepts for the sculpture. Their names are time capsuled and are written on the sides of the individual stones, which were tied together to form this large sculpture.
Urszula added: “The feedback so far has been very positive. The scheme has been submitted for the Jersey Architectural Awards, which will be announced later this month (20th of September). It will be interesting to see how the project will be received by a wider public, especially colleagues from the industry.
“This project was kind of a milestone for me. It is the first landscape project of such scale and complexity that I have run on my own and is one which I’ve really been tested to my limits with. Thanks to this project, I now feel there is no challenge or project that I couldn’t take on! It was also a unique project from a design point of view; it is rare to work on a restoration and new built project on one site and come up with a landscape scheme, which marries the old and new buildings. Hopefully they will live happily ever after in College Gardens, together with all of the residents who have moved in there.”