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Urban Territory

Skate Park design

Found this interesting documentary today – Janne Saario – the keen pro skater turned landscape architect, designing some of the most innovative skate parks in the world!


Hard Landscaping Plan

Materials work with the existing materials on the site. The steel from the gas cylinders inspire the site with their vertical presence. The steel uprights of the outside shell are used within the education centre linking the two together. Due to the flooding on the site permeable paving will be used aiding with drainage. The wetland area will have a series of wooden platforms and boardwalks to allow pedestrian flow and access these will be at two heights.  A raised platform 3m above the wetland will give views across the planted treetops and a lowered boardwalk which will be intimate with the large grasses and wetland plants. There will be a plaza area around the gas cylinders to extend the recreation space and open up outside dining and events.

Below are perspective 3D drawings I put together on photoshop to illustrate the design intention.

3D penisula flattened skate park Perspective

Soft Landscaping


The overall concept for the planting is to bring native plants and trees into the site and mix these with plants that attract nature. The wetland area will have native planting to help in the restoration of the derelict land as well as being used to bring wildlife in. The area will feel quite dramatic with tall trees and large Gunnera towering over the boardwalks. There will be an avenue of Alder along the river edge and many of the riparian edge species will be retained so as not to cause too much disturbance to the current river ecosystem. There will be planting beds throughout the site which will house many colourful plants that have all year attraction and form and a selection of trees. There are a series of grass mounds to give form and verticality to the site. These tie into the concept with there up and down movements similar to skaters.





The design incorporates areas specifically for art, skateboarding and education as well as recreation and relaxation.

  • The Gas cylinders are to be turned into a café /restaurant with gallery space for local artists and visiting exhibitions or school groups. Due to the size it could also be used for events. The other cylinder is to be a permanent studio space for artists, which links to the few around Chelmsford and would greatly benefit local artists. The cylinders themselves will become platforms for graffiti and art which can be hung or painted on.
  • There will be two skate parks within the site a covered area underneath the observational deck and an open air area. The pathways have been designed with materials that skaters can navigate across the site including a series of different leveled paths for interest.
  • There are a series of free graffiti walls throughout the design in various areas some secretive and some public as street artists differ in their preference.
  • An education centre is situated within the wetland area to be used by members of the public and also school groups.
  • There is a central children’s park area which has climbing elements and a lookout tower over the site.





My final design for the site:




The forms as talked about earlier came from movement. The movement of the skaters making waves across a skate ramp, the movement of a graffiti artists arm reaching up as he sprays a layer of paint and the fluid lines that are created on the wall.

Below is a film to illustrate this:

Spray paints have been added to the bottom of skateboards and they have created patterns on the walls.

dface-skateboard-interface urbanartcore eu dface-pool-painted-with-skateboards4-550x316  fubiz net dface-pool-painted-with-skateboards3-550x309 fubiz net dface-pool-painted-with-skateboards2-550x307  fubiz net



Movement and Connections

The concept is ‘Movement and Connections’, which was developed from the analysis of connectivity of the site and the current and possible users. Currently the users of the site are Essex Record Office staff and visitors, commuters and graffiti artists. There is a movement to the site when people use it as a connection and there is a movement in the way the graffiti artists make their bold designs in paint.  A possible user of the site is skateboarders, these bring with them a lot of movement, the jumps and flowing loops. These movements bring about the concept which incorporates energy and rhythm. The concept is also about connectivity not only in regards to connecting the site to the town but in terms of connecting elements like art in the form of the art trail but also the graffiti which is created on the site. The conceptual forms were created from the patterns of the skaters and graffiti artists.

Below is the Site Context and Concept;



To design an arts  and activity park that incorporates an urban wetland.

To create a link through the town that brings people into the site.


•A defined set of entrances
•Car park  for  the park
•Retain graffiti walls
•Retain gas cylinders
•Retain some mature trees


•Skate park or skate features throughout park
•Open up river walk
•Open up views to Mill
•New Entrance Area
•Artist space
•Wetland Education Centre


Azureus Manus – Blue hand – Group Work and Concept

Azureus Manus - logo


As part of our initial group work we had to develop a team name and a concept for the new design.

The team name was Azureus Manus and above is our logo. This stands for Blue hand, which describes the strong links Chelmsford has due to its location next to the river. Unfortunately this is not celebrated in Chelmsford, as the river flows into town it is canalised by big concrete walls which are not that open and so the river is lost in certain parts. We felt that the river was like an arm reaching into Chelmsford trying to connect it.

From this we looked at creating conceptual mapping joining the two green areas either side of the town alongside the river.

conceptual map

The map demonstrates how our concept aims to link the town together through the green wedge that would run through Chelmsford. The site would act as a hub that draws different programmes in.


The site itself would then have different zones that cater for different users and uses.

Pink = cultural zone – artists, theatre, cafe etc

Orange = history – record office

Yellow = community – allotments

Green= green space

Blue = river and water systems


This is a conceptual model of the mapping of the site, showing how the connections join the site and connect up throughout the town.

Our final design board for the site concept and research looked at a journey from the source of the river to the mouth.




Wetland Design Inspiration

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As the site floods and is part of Chelmsford’s flood plain I decided that a wetland would benefit the town by diverting water into a large holding pond and then into a new wetland area. This would encourage both wildlife and people into the site. There could be an education centre which opens to local school parties and the community.

The above pictures were used as inspiration to help with the development of this area.

Skate Park

To truly get into the mind-set of the skaters I decided to complete the skate circuit experiencing all the ramps and jumps, I cannot skate board so I ran the journey and videoed my experiences.

I also researched the movement of the Skaters as this helped later on in the design process with the forms for the masterplan.


I was very interested in graffiti on site and who was working there. The users of the site come for various reasons and if they are to remain graffiti walls should be kept to encourage them.

The site has a graffiti wall which is legal and the there are both very open and very secluded areas. Street Artists each have a unique style and their own way of working. I am very interested in the psychology around how people both create these works of art and how they are interpreted by others. I want to create a series of opportunities throughout the site for street artists to use.


The Gas Cylinders are an iconic structure and I want to retain them on site and use them for artists studio’s and galleries. The structures can be used to display art and graffiti (see above)

youth-culture vision2hear wordpress com

I really like this piece, it could be a slogan for Graffiti art in the park – Chelmsford wants you!


I am very interested in the potential for attracting youth into the site. There is a graffiti wall on site at present that is used by people from all over Europe.

There are also many local schools who could utilise the site as part of an outdoor curriculum.

SCH - Copy

Within Chelmsford there is only one skate park (red dot). This is used by a wide community and age range, there are also many spots that skaters congregate throughout the town. These are demonstrated by the green and blue dots.


This is a presentation put together to research skate parks in both London and Chelmsford to look at users, design and programming.


Site Hydrology

The site is located on a flood plain and the existing Essex Record office sits directly in the middle of this. There is a flood wall built on site to ensure this and the large car park do not flood – however this does not alleviate flooding from central Chelmsford as the water cannot access the site at present. The cycle path runs along side the flood wall and is impassable during flood conditions breaking the link from the site to the residential areas.hydrology flood map 2


The site is in red and features in the centre of the floodplain.



Gas Work Park: Site Analysis – History

As part of an Ecology module, we completed group to create a phase 1 habitat survey, which was created in CAD by Matt Hull.

This shows the vegetation of the site.
G:Masters WrittleYear 1Landscape Ecologyphase 1 base Layout1Historic Development of Site and Surrounding Areas

Below are a series of hand drawn maps that demonstrate the history of the roads, river systems and settlement patterns of London, Chelmsford and Colchester. It shows the development through the ages from Roman to current day. You can also see how the old Roman road linking to Chelmsford and Colchester is still used and is now the A12.

Picture4 - Copy

In Roman times the settlement within Chelmsford was centred around Moulsham Street with a manor and smaller out buildings.

chelmsford museum

Picture5 - Copy

In the medieval times Chelmsford grew and a market street was formed, which is now the current high street.

Picture6 - Copy

The Settlements and roads have expanded considerably.

Picture7 - Copy



This map highlights the listed buildings within Chelmsford, there are two within the site: Moulsham Mill and a small brick bridge.

Chelmsfordviaduct wiki

The old train viaduct is a real historic feature of Chelmsford.wp8f4c01af_05_06 photoramix

This map demonstrates the old settlement in Chelmsford.


Gas Works Site Context

Within the Urban Territories Module, we were asked to design a very large site.

The site is situated in Chelmsford, Essex, UK.  It’s located in the South East of the town centre.  It sits parallel to the River Chelmer and River Can, that confluence next to the site.  Within the boundaries of the site there are flood plains, allotments and brown field land (decommissioned Gas Works).  There are two main roads along the boundary, and one minor road enters the site leading into a large concrete car park.  The site is predominately pedestrianised with a cycle path running along the flood wall. The Essex Record Office is central to the site with access via a car park and a bridge across the river.  At the tip of the site is a peninsula where a canal and the River Chelmer confluence.Picture1

Picture2typologiesThe site has a good location within Chelmsford and is in walking distance from the shopping area with direct links to four car parks. It also benefits from its proximity to the river which brings in tourism and recreational facilities like fishing and canoeing. Although the site is close to the town it feels fragmented due to the lack of vernacular linking with Chelmsford’s history and culture. The main road also disconnects the site from the town by creating a solid divide. Currently it is underused due to its lack of programming and circulatory routes.


The site’s surrounding typology includes a mixture of retail, commercial, historical and mainly residential areas. The pedestrian path from the east cuts through the site, linking up to the retail area.  The road access is from the North West, leading into the centre of the peninsula. There are four access bridges linking the pedestrian routes across the river, and a weir which controls its flow of the river just after the confluence.

typologies map