William Eichler 24 June 2019

Pedestrian Environment Runner-up: Keel Square, Sunderland City Council

Pedestrian Environment Runner-up: Keel Square, Sunderland City Council image

History does not have to remain stuck in the past, as Sunderland’s Keel Square, a celebration of the city’s maritime and industrial heritage, demonstrates.

When Sunderland developed out of three medieval settlements during the Industrial Revolution, the city centre was laid out in a grid around the historic high street. A square was never incorporated into the centre’s design.

Sunderland City Council, however, decided it was time the city had its first major civic space and Keel Square, was the result.

The new space has been designed to complement the adjacent Grade II listed Magistrates Court and provides what the council describes as a ‘smooth pedestrian transition’ between the Vaux site and the retail centre.

As a celebration of the city’s maritime heritage, the square has running through it a 292m line which represents the Naess Crusader, the longest ship ever built on the Wear.

The Keel Line has the names of the 8,102 ships built in Sunderland’s shipyards since 1786. They were etched onto the flag stones by the artist Bryan Talbot, author of the graphic novel Alive in Sunderland.

At one end of the Line, there is a sculpture of a giant propeller made of glass and bronze - called ‘Propellers of the City’ – which bears the faces of over 300 shipyard workers.

The lighting columns and bins in the square, which are accompanied by a fountain with in-ground ‘dancing’ jets, stick with the shipping theme. The former are clad in timber with bronze bases and the latter are reminiscent of a dorade box found on a ship’s deck.

The scheme has proven to be a catalyst for the development of key sites in the city centre. The first phase of the Vaux site, the major employment site in the centre, is nearing completion.

A hotel, travel shop and police station are also looking to move to the centre.

Submitted by: Kevin Johnson, principal landscape architect, Sunderland City Council

Design and contract administrators: Sunderland City Council Landscape Design Services and Highways Engineers
Contractor: Balfour Beatty Construction
Public art consultant: Broadbent Studios
Lighting consultants: Balfour Beatty Living Places

You can visit the Street Design Awards website for further details about the competition.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Director of Governance and Compliance

Cheshire East Council
Six-figure salary negotiable on experience
Looking for a talented leader who is comfortable working at a strategic level as well as someone with a track record of sound operational management. Cheshire
Recuriter: Cheshire East Council

Director of Corporate Property

Westminster City Council
Competitive Salary
This is a senior role within the Council and so the key to the success will be leadership, engagement and... City of Westminster, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Westminster City Council

Property Manager Temporary Accommodation

Hackney London Borough Council
£55,233 - £56,289
We’re looking for someone who is energetic, focused and committed to managing and improving our buildings in a fast paced team. Hackney, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hackney London Borough Council

Sustainability & Resilience Manager (maternity cover)

Essex County Council
£51510.0 - £58752 per annum
This fixed-term contract will begin in August 2020 and is expected to last until October 2021 Interviews scheduled to be held Wednesday 10th June 2020 England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Civil Service Deputy Director Roles

GOV.UK
£70,000 - £117,800 & excellent rewards
We’re looking for significant experience of engaging at C-Suite and Board levels, excellent partnership-building and... England
Recuriter: GOV.UK

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue