We would like to share with you some of the positive feedback that our design generates :
STaG BSF - Mortimer Community School
Claire Mullane, Mortimer Community School, South Shields
"THANK YOU for our fabulous gardens. It’s been a delight to watch the students using the areas for the first time today – we’re really, really lucky."
“We’re delighted and excited by the plans for the school. Colour: urban design has developed our thinking towards the whole school environment not only as a social space but also as an interactive learning environment."
Moorside Community Primary School & Nursery
June Foster, Head teacher
‘I searched for a company who could translate our thoughts and ideas into reality and I found Colour Urban Design who responded immediately. As a company you listened to what we wanted and didn’t try to give us what you thought we wanted, you took our thinking forward and expanded on our ideas.
My enthusiasm for this project was matched by each one of the designers I came into contact with and who worked with pupils and didn’t patronise them. Everyone in school is delighted with the outcome. Your availability on the phone or email meant I never felt you had forgotten about us or were too busy for us. Your standard of design was wonderful. I appreciated being listened too as did the pupils.’
University Hospital of North Staffordshire
Susan Francis, chair, AEDET Review Panel
The masterplan was been described by Susan Francis of CABE, who led the NHS’ AEDET Review Panel in April 2007 as :
‘illustrating beautifully how architecture has been developed closely with landscape architecture - it is landscape architecture integrated with infrastructure development’.
John Haworth, architectural director, RyderHKS
John Haworth believed that the main challenge for the site according was to integrate a wide range of clinical services efficiently onto an existing live hospital campus. The masterplan maximises new build for the Trust, keeps the way-finding to various departments simple and minimises disruption to existing services.
Working with the Colour-UDL landscape team allowed the adoption of a holistic view in projects requiring complex masterplanning elements. He says:
“Colour: UDL has formed an intrinsic part of the design team from the outset. Their continual involvement has meant that the landscape proposals formed a natural element to the campus redevelopment.
“The entire site masterplan, including the basic building footprints, has been the result of the team taking a holistic view of the campus. The external landscape design provides clear passive wayfinding with important public spaces as well as private areas for contemplation or views. This is reflected in the orientation and design of the associated interior spaces.
“At the Haywood site, Colour-UDL’s detailed consideration of private garden spaces for residents each with their own individual character responding to the particular needs of specific patient groups has created a unique setting for rehabilitation.
“At UHNS, Colour-UDL’s design interpretation of the site perimeter and its relationships with adjacent private residential properties has been outstanding. This has led to the development of a belt of woodland mix planting which, once mature, will protect and identify the hospital campus whilst providing habitat for local wildlife.”
Swansfield Park, Alnwick
from Alnwick Community Development Trust
Carys Thomas of Alnwick Community Development Trust:
‘I meant to contact you as soon as the Park opened a few weeks ago to say thank you for all your input (and patience!). It looks great and I really do think we achieved maximum effect for the money. The basket swing is so popular and the spinning cone climber is equally popular - the best thing about both pieces is that they can take more than one child at a time (lots!). The feedback from the children and families who use it is excellent.
Those last minute decisions were very well worth it – they really makes a big difference and are popular (with the most surprising children).’
Prudhoe town centre improvement scheme
from prudhoe community partnership
Feedback has been received from the local community on progress of the public realm improvements due to start on site in May 2007 :
"At the Prudhoe Business Network meeting on Thursday of last week, compliments were sent from the traders with regard to the work being carried out on the Front Street Scheme – just thought you would like to know – well done!!!"
- Yvonne Probert, Project Officer
Prudhoe Community Partnership
wynyard hotel masterplan
from dewjo'c architects
Stephen Halsall, associate of Dewjoc Architects comments "Dewjoc Architects and Colour Urban Design have a long-term relationship, which has created a synergy. This telepathy creates mutual understanding of the complexities of architectural design and urban/ landscape planning. Peter has a sympathetic understanding towards design, which allows the cohesive integration of the landscape proposals.
The skills draw from the relationship
Mutual understanding: tapping into the creative thinking to produce the best solutions
Depth of knowledge: Peter has a wealth of experience which is invaluable in the design process
Critical analysis: in order to develop a robust design, positive critical analysis from each team member produces good design
Enthusiasm: Peter has an enthusiasm towards landscape design always developing innovative ways to "push the envelope"
These qualities are imperative when looking at large complex projects ensuring that each stage of the planning process has been, questioned and developed to create an integrated design solution."
55 degrees north
Peter Buchan, executive director of RyderHKS said: “The transformation of the original office block on its hostile inaccessible roundabout into an aspirational residential, office and leisure development has been very successful.
“When the scheme was proposed, everyone thought it was mad to expect people to live there, and one of the major challenges was integrating it into the city fabric.
“Working with Colour: UDL we looked for solutions to make the environment attractive so people would want to go there and spend time there, and to direct people around the south side to complete the route to and from the Quayside.
“We came up with lots of options and decided to demolish a chunk of the podium building to create the arrival space facing Mosley Street. This has the most pedestrian traffic and formed the natural focus for the main bar entrance.
“The curved pink wall and glazed arcade grab everyone’s attention as a bold, exciting addition to the city centre. Pulsing lights, sculptural benches and giant tree pots subtly send out the wayfinding messages needed. The drab concrete wasteland has become a desirable urban space where people enjoy cocktails under the sunshades.
“55 Degrees is a landmark in the city for all the right reasons – people enjoy living, playing and working there.” (April 2007)
gateshead international stadium
from faulkner browns
Mike Hall, project director on the scheme at FaulknerBrowns, sees the type of creative and dramatic support that Colour: UDL can provide to a scheme such as Gateshead international stadium as the all important ingredient to make it ‘work’ aesthetically and commercially. He says:
“The Colour: UDL team brought enthusiasm for creating a ‘place’ around the new development. Through innovative thinking and by responding to the architectural concepts they helped to tie the building into both the site and the wider area.
“Colour: UDL also made a valuable input into the buildings’ design. The team’s enthusiasm for creating places, not just landscapes, helped a great deal in the planning and development process. They are able to think conceptually and have an extensive understanding of ecological issues. We have total confidence in their capability to deliver effectively.” (March 2007)
West Dunbartonshire Schools PPP
from West Dunbartonshire County Council
Recent feedback received from West Dunbartonshire County Council, with reference to the architecture & design section of the bid submission :
'generally, very convincing, coherent landscape strategy'....
South Ayrshire Council PPP Schools programme
Architecture & Design Scotland have advised the Council, that they are "in favour" of our designs and further that they are being cited as "best practice". Could you pass our congratulations on to RyderHKS and Colour. (May 2006)
Architecture + Design Scotland VIEWS
We recognise and encourage the imaginative, integrated landscape proposals. We welcome the strong indoor/outdoor relationships, the variety of external spaces provided and the plans to use the grounds for a range of educational purposes. The class gardens, designed to aid children in learning maths, environmental science and art, are a particularly attractive feature of the primary school designs. (April 2006)
Barassie Primary School and Nursery
Response to site conditions
The exposed nature of the site presented a challenge. We commend the way in which both architects and landscape architects have responded to the extreme environmental conditions in an innovative manner, and designed a unique school which turns those challenging conditions into positive attributes.
The new entrance courtyard
The variety of external environments and seating areas provided, and the careful way in which they have been assembled to link the two entrances and provide an attractive focal point and amenity for the school, are to be commended.
Newcastle Building Schools for the Future
Feedback from interim meeting
Canning Street (primary school)
Client Design Advisor : Landscape a key part of their proposals, which is to be congratulated.
Thomas Bewick (school for children with autism)
Client Design Advisor: There is a very strong emphasis on landscape. Interesting concept with regards to style and design of the landscape proposals.
CABE : Interesting landscape ideas – looks well considered. (September 2005)
55 degrees north
‘The City Council having supported the radical proposals, are delighted with the finished product to the extent of according it an Urban Landscape Award in the Lord Mayor's Design Awards for 2003.
The award celebrates the skill in tackling head on all the negative qualities of the previously isolated roundabout and an exciting new public space.’
- Tony Wyatt, Group Manager for Urban Design & Conservation, Planning and Transportation, Newcastle City Council
Garden for Survivors of Torture
‘We have a great solution which is truly uplifting and sympathetic to its use. It is also a very strong concept, which responds well to the building,’
- Peter Buchan, chief executive, RyderHKS
‘The genius is the tilted lawn’
- Gordon Wills, director, Medical Foundation
CULTURAL PARTNER ROLE FOR COLOUR: UDL INSPIRED BY PASSION TO NURTURE
Colour : Urban Design Limited is playing an integral role in a cutting-edge research programme to assess the impact of landscape design on teaching and learning processes.
The contemporary practice, known for its innovative approach to design, was selected as Cultural Partner in Autumn 2006 to undertake a research programme at Peases West Primary School in Billy Row, County Durham. Research has been designed to characterise and analyse how transformations to the external environment can influence both teaching and learning, indoors and outside. Early findings have shown boosted levels of engagement amongst children and new ideas from teachers.
The programme has seen Colour: UDL working as a ‘Cultural Partner’ with the school, an educational research team from the Open University and Exeter University, and Creative Partnership Durham Sunderland, an organisation which works with cultural partners and schools to find new ways to deliver the curriculum through enhancements and diversification of learning. In many instances, this has enabled pupils to become heavily involved in the creative redesign of their school grounds.
Within the practice, Colour: UDL has found great synergies between the research and the transformational approach to education explored within the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. The thinking has been recognised by educationalists, architects and Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contractors to such an extent that the practice is in demand as a bid differentiator.
This ‘whole site’ approach to education has encouraged Peases West School to utilise its grounds as a valuable resource for both teaching and learning. Peter Owens, managing director of Colour: UDL, believes that some of the most subtle changes have been the most profound.
“In many ways the first stages of this project have been as much about influencing perceptions as making physical changes. Through our programme of interventions – creation of temporary landscapes, environmental exercises and visits; articulacy is being built between pupils and teachers with the environment about them. We have found that not only are they thinking about the spaces about them, but also making value judgements as to how these spaces and places can be used to improve their personal learning”.
The shift in children’s attitudes has and will continue to be tracked by the research team throughout the year. In tandem is a monitoring of the transfer of newfound outdoor skills to the indoors.
It is hoped that the body of empirical research will provide a clearer idea of the importance of the role played by landscape design within educational establishments and highlight the optimum environment for enhanced learning and teaching.
Before embarking on the programme of research Colour: UDL organised an initiative called ‘Playing with Space’ which invited nursery and primary age children to photograph their favourite space and say why they liked it. Attracting more than 350 entries, Playing with Space sought to promote better design of outdoor space in schools.
“With school grounds making up over 63% of a school estate on average, it is surprising that more thought was not traditionally given to their development. We are fortunate in being able to use the tremendous insight we gained from Playing with Space to shape the research programme at Peases West.
“Our involvement in the programme started with the children themselves asking us what we could bring to the project and this really set the tone for them being the focus for the research. Our team has thrown itself into this project and has spent a significant amount of time at the school, working with all its year groups to assist them in clarifying their thoughts about outside space and acting as mentors and enablers to help make their plans for the space into a reality.
Crucial in terms of creative development, the data that has been gathered so far would indicate that, “in terms of leadership, the outside is viewed as shared space in which children can make decisions, while the inside is viewed as being the teacher’s space,” says Penelope Best, consultant researcher from the Open University.
She continues: “At the moment, one thing that has changed has been the way they view the spaces, in terms of thinking, feeling and playing. They are also talking about defining quiet spaces where they can think and dream as well as spaces in which they can be active.”
“It has been fascinating to see how the pupils’ perceptions of the outside space have changed in the way that they think, learn and act within the school environment. The realisation that we are providing a sustainable framework that enhances pupils’ shaping of their own unique thoughts and connection with nature is incredibly rewarding.”
Speaking about how her pupils’ perceptions of outside space have been altered during the research programme, Anne Offler, Year one and two teacher, said:
“Some children see learning inside as formal and others are instantly turned off. The classroom tends to set a pattern for the children’s behaviour, for example, sitting in the same chair every day.
“Outside they don’t have that barrier to start off with and therefore some children respond much better to the learning process. There is more choice outside and the pupils cope with this very well - they definitely expect the learning experience to be different outside. Their behaviour is less defined and more fluid.”
Judith Stirk, head teacher at Peases West Primary School said of this new venture for the school:
“The pupils have definitely experienced creativity in a very different form. They now view the outdoor space in alternative ways, which has opened their eyes to the potential for its use.
“The impact will ultimately be in a physical form, re-designed areas of a mixture of permanent and moveable features of which the children have ownership due to their input. In addition, a key objective for us is to use this experience to take a leading role in our own curriculum development.”
Colour: UDL’s flourishing portfolio of work in the education sector comes from the passion to design school grounds that work on a profound psychological level – a system to nurture self-esteem, creativity, social development, emotional wellbeing and physical exercise, acting very much as the preparation for a successful adulthood.
At Newburn Manor Nursery School in Newcastle upon Tyne, Colour: UDL created an engaging and stimulating environment to allow for curricular development and to encourage subliminal learning. In addition, an abstract playground design was introduced to encourage the pupils’ creative and social development – an environment that required and allowed pupils to use their imagination. An open-ended school environment was delivered that did not ‘tell children how to play’.
For Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Primary School in Ealing, West London, Colour: UDL was contracted to undertake a masterplan design for the school that would meet the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of pupils from nursery to key stage two age. In this case Colour: UDL introduced an innovative total educational environment within which every element had one or more roles to play.
Having worked with Colour: UDL on a number of projects to build and remodel schools as part of BSF, Eddie Brady, former head teacher and director of c2a Learning Ltd, spoke about its approach to schemes:
“We like working with the team at Colour: UDL because they share our approach to the design and development of the learning landscape. This is to focus on developing the whole school site as a place of learning for the community. Colour: UDL’s team understand the link between the internal and the external spaces and how both need to reflect the context in which they are placed yet look to the future with a focus on learning providing opportunities for everyone in the locality.
“Colour: UDL, like c2a, see the need to work with the students, staff and the community harnessing their enthusiasm and creativity to develop the landscape thus creating a sense of ownership. More than that, it is clear about the need to not only show the opportunities available immediately but provide a template for future development well beyond those early designs. This approach involving all groups with a vested interest in the school as a learning site make it sustainable over the longer term.”
Colour: UDL is currently delivering landscape design as part of the successful South Ayrshire Schools Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Carillion. Six new schools are currently on site and due for completion in December 2008. (August 2007)