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Redcar Open Design Competition : Winner

Seafront Zone Design competition North Yorkshire, England

8 Jul 2009

Redcar Seafront – Design Contest


Design: landscape architects Smeeden Foreman with Seven Architecture and Arup

Redcar Open Design Competition Winner

Following an international design competition, one of the region’s most ambitious seafront regeneration plans was unveiled which will transform Redcar seafront and create the first-ever 80 ft ‘vertical pier’ on this stretch of coast.

A total of £30m is planned to be invested in the seafront defences and to create a unique and vibrant promenade which will attract visitors with a network of beautifully designed public spaces incorporating water cascades, sunshine traps, performance space and sheltered seating from which to view the town’s distinctive seascape.

Redcar Competition
image : Seven Architecture

The winning design team led by Harrogate-based landscape architects Smeeden Foreman working in collaboration with Seven Architecture, Arup and Davis Langdon, aims to bring characteristics of the beach up onto the promenade, using textures, colours, shapes and sights from the seafront in seating, paving and the ribbons of a wave ‘canopy’ stretching along the coastline.

Cllr Sheelagh Clarke, deputy leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, Redcar & Cleveland Council said: “Everyone who lives in Redcar & Cleveland loves our seafront and would welcome the opportunity to return to its heyday, where families flocked here for a great day out. The area has looked tired for a number of years and our plans will put our seafront back on the tourism map and undoubtedly attract visitors both old and new.

Our vision is deliberately ambitious because we want to stand out from the crowd and show people Redcar is a fantastic town and the seafront is second to none, and that once you have come you will always remember it.”

The Environment Agency is currently progressing funding for this sea defence project which will strengthen the town’s protection from flooding and erosion, as well as creating an interesting seaside experience. The plans will also regenerate the whole seafront and boost its local economy, helping to provide new jobs.

Paul Stainer from the Environment Agency said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to improve the seafront at Redcar and strengthen the sea defences at the same time. By working together, Redcar has plans for its promenade and sea defences which will help to both protect and attract people for many decades to come. ”

One Northeast also contributed to the project, David Cramond, director of capital development at One Northeast, said: “Plans for the creation of a vertical pier, which will become the focal point of the area, are certainly exciting and will help to recreate the distinctive coastline Redcar enjoyed in years gone by.”

Kate Curtis from Smeeden Foreman said: “We wanted to create a design which drew on the existing assets and history of the town as well as capitalising on the amazing views. From the industrial landscape to the north to the steady flow of ships on the horizon and the beautiful expanse of sand, Redcar offers a rich seaside experience.

Our inspiration came from all of these factors and we also used the different elements of the beach such as the water, sand and rocks to shape the design.

An exhibition of the designs will be open to the public from Saturday, 4 July 10am for the whole of next week in a marquee on the Redcar seafront opposite Marks and Spencers.

The concept for the revitalised seafront has three distinct zones; focus, fun and nature. For the ‘focus zone’, the vertical pier designed with Seven Architecture will be the centre point of a new performance space with a 360o viewing platform.

The building is planned to be a beacon to place Redcar on the landscape from the sea and surrounding area but also to be a practical tourist and creative industries resource with the potential for a seaside shop, café and exhibition space. The tower will be a beacon for the seafront and the town’s wider regeneration.

In the ‘fun zone’ of the promenade families will be able to enjoy water play areas which could be used all year round, not just in the summer, and which will complement other entertainment on the beach front.

A ‘nature zone’ is also included complementing the special environmental features on the beach at the eastern end of the scheme closest to the Stray. Here visitors on the esplanade will be able to enjoy a quieter experience with the design changing with the landscape to reflect the local Scars rock area which is a site of special scientific interest

At night the scheme will be illuminated by an undulating light strip incorporated into the canopies and a section of the beach will be used as a canvas on which to project a variety of images.

The public of Redcar & Cleveland played a major part in the proposed design of the new seafront with two consultations taking place last year at which over 7,000 people gave their opinion on what they wanted to see on their seafront. One of the consultations was specifically based on five shortlisted design concepts and the successful Smeeden Foreman team proposals were ranked highly on all criteria.

Timescales for the construction of the new promenade and vertical pier and the other plans are that a detailed design will be developed over the next six months with work expected to begin on site next summer, 2010, following the approval of the funding package.

It is also planned that Redcar and Cleveland’s seafront will also benefit from an imaginative series of complementary regeneration proposals including cultural events, a creative industries hub, and facilities to attract digital and arts entrepreneurs which are planned over the next two – three years.

The international design competition was organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects.


Redcar Competition – Shortlist

10 Nov 2008

Shortlisted architects:
DKS Architects
FL&S landskap/arkitektur
Smeeden Foreman Ltd
Studio 8 Architects
W.A.P. Architects

Redcar Seafront Redcar Seafront Redcar Seafront

Redcar Seafront Redcar Seafront

Exhibition of short-listed design proposals for the regeneration of Redcar’s Seafront Zone

An exhibition of the five short-listed design proposals for the regeneration of Redcar’s Seafront Zone is being held in Redcar until Saturday 15 November 2008.

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, working in partnership with the Environment Agency, invited design professionals to generate ideas for the public realm on the landward side of the proposed new sea wall, together with a coherent set of proposals for the Seafront’s backdrop zone. The latter consists of the area immediately behind the promenade – the public highway, footpath, building façades and the plots between them.

The first stage of the competition attracted an excellent response, with 53 submissions from Competitors based in the UK, Eire, Iran, Italy, The Netherlands and Sweden. The Partnership was delighted that so many designers were interested in shaping the future of Redcar’s Seafront zone.

The Jury Panel consisted of Elected and Executive Members of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, together with representatives from the Arts Council Northeast, the Environment Agency, Hartlepool Borough Council, One NorthEast, Redcar Business Association, Redcar Town Centre Management Executive and Simon Warren (Bauman Lyons Architects Ltd) acting as the RIBA Adviser.

The Panel was impressed by the very high standard of the presentation material and the varied responses to the challenging Competition Brief. Panel members selected the schemes which they felt would have the greatest ability to put Redcar on the map, to raise its profile amongst potential visitors and provide a distinctive offer in comparison to other UK Seafront towns.

Competitors also needed to have proposed viable schemes that struck a balance between creativity and pragmatism, which will be capable of acting as a catalyst for Redcar’s regeneration.

Following the anonymous Stage 1 assessment, the authors of the five short-listed schemes (in alphabetical order) were identified as follows:
DKS Architects
FL&S landskap/arkitektur
Smeeden Foreman Ltd
Studio 8 Architects
W.A.P. Architects

Members of the Jury Panel commented:
‘The quality and originality of the design competition submissions were exceptional. It was important to ensure that technical and environmental constraints were considered when judging the entries. I am convinced that the shortlist will provide Redcar with an attractive and exciting seafront and amenity, whilst protecting the town from erosion and flooding well into the future’.
Paul Stainer (Environment Agency – Project Executive, Redcar Coastal Defence Scheme)

‘This exhibition follows on from consultation on a wider scale about the regeneration of Redcar & Cleveland and already we can tell that the public wants to have their say. We’re delighted about that – and that’s why we’re moving into Redcar’s Central Library so more people can give us their views’.
Cllr. Sheelagh Clarke (Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council – Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Tourism)

‘The Competition Brief sets a difficult challenge. The response was excellent and I was impressed by the range of visions created for the seafront. In the shortlist Redcar have got a variety of propositions all of which will greatly enhance the place and be uplifting for people from Redcar and visitors alike’.
Simon Warren (Bauman Lyons Architects Ltd – RIBA Adviser)

Members of the public are invited to comment on the design proposals which will be displayed anonymously in the foyer of Redcar’s Central Library until Saturday 15 November 2008. R&CBC staff will be on hand to answer questions from the public between 2pm and 4pm daily. Themes arising from the exhibition will be collated and made available to Jury Panel members to help inform their decision when the designers present their proposals at final interview.

3 Jul 2008

Design Competition for Regeneration of Redcar’s Seafront Zone, England

The RIBA Competitions Office is pleased to announce the launch of a two-stage Open Design Competition for the regeneration of Redcar’s Seafront Zone. Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, working in partnership with the Environment Agency, invites design professionals to generate ideas for the public realm improvements associated with a new coastal defence scheme at Redcar.

Redcar is a seaside town situated on the bracing and beautiful coast of north-east England. The town is justifiably proud of its past, but now recognises the need to improve the quality, role and economic performance of its key seafront visitor space, to raise its profile as a visitor destination and commercial centre to stimulate investment activity.

The competition offers a rare opportunity to shape the future form of approximately 1.5kms of sea frontage at a UK coastal resort. The anonymous first stage seeks design ideas and approaches for the public realm aspects of the sea wall scheme, as well as a coherent set of associated proposals for the public highway, building facades and sites in the seafront’s immediate ‘backdrop zone’.

Up to five schemes will be short-listed to go through to the second stage of the competition, when anonymity will be lifted and the authors invited to present their design proposals to the Jury Panel at a final interview. The winner will need to demonstrate an empathy, realism and understanding of commissioning clients’ expectations and abilities.

Each short-listed competitor will receive an honorarium payment of GBP £4,000 (+VAT), with the winner receiving an additional payment of GBP £4,000 + VAT.

The competition is open internationally to all practising architects, landscape architects, town planners and urban designers. Students of the aforementioned design disciplines may only enter the competition as part of a team that includes an appropriately and fully qualified practising design professional. Inter-discipline collaboration is actively encouraged, as is the inclusion of the work of public artists.

For details of how to register for the Redcar Seafront Competition and to view the Competition Brief please visit Please note that registrations will close on 20 August 2008, and the deadline for Stage 1 design submissions is 2.00pm on 27 August 2008.

Location: Redcar, North Yorkshire, England, UK

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