Creating a sense of place
Onion Collective would like to offer a warm welcome and big shout out to Landscape Architects LT Studio, Nicky Robinson and Marc Dix, who are joining the Onion design team. They will be working on the external spaces and hard landscaping for the Watchet Boat Museum and Visitor Centre project.
Over to Nicky...
Marc and I set up our Landscape Architecture studio in North Somerset after living and working first in London and then in Asia leading landscape teams working on projects in China, Vietnam and Singapore. Marc is a Landscape Architect and I am the Practice Manager. Marc had an interest in environment and design from a young age and a chance meeting with the then President of the Landscape Institute inspired him to train to become a Landscape Architect. An accomplished fine artist, Marc enjoys using a mixture of hand drawings and 3D renders to illustrate his designs.
Marc is passionate about good design and the impact it can have on communities. He is a member of the Bristol Urban Design Review Panel – a strategic group advising on significant developments in the South West. He also lectures on landscape in the University of Bath Architecture Department. LT Studio’s current projects include the landscape design for a new distinctive public realm for Torquay waterfront and a hotel and public realm development in London’s historic Southwark.
Landscape Architects design the spaces that surround buildings, complementing the built form. They look at how people might move around a space, how the local context and historical background of the site affects its scale and character and how the local community will use the public realm. They work in harmony with architects and other designers as well as local people who have a sensitivity to how a place is to be changed.
Clearly, with the South West Coastal Path and the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on its doorstep, Watchet already has fantastic natural landscape in abundance - what we do is to help build a sense of place. The proposed new and renovated buildings will help deliver this but the spaces between the buildings are just as important as the buildings themselves.
Landscape is an essential part of what makes a place successful. Verdant, well-designed, and robust public spaces will deliver a better quality of life for the residents of Watchet. They will help to create a sense of pride and ownership. Good quality landscape design can help foster communities, encouraging people to meet and greet, not just by passing through but by interacting with the whole space and in doing so, creating a destination.
The external spaces at the Boat Museum form a key nodal point for the town. The proposals revitalise the area as a fitting welcome and entry point whether arriving by car, coach, rail, by bicycle or on foot whilst regenerating connections to Swain Street. The designs will accommodate a proposed rope making machine which will run parallel to the railway line. A new pedestrian path is also proposed to run from the Boat Museum to the Goviers Lane crossing area. The path will give new sightlines along the railway tracks directly to the Boat Museum and Watchet Station whilst linking up with the South West Coastal Path and beyond.
The wider public realm that surrounds the Boat Museum offers real potential for a thriving community space, providing ample parking for visitors, but also offering flexible spaces for performance, market stall pitches, alfresco dining, places to sit and watch and the provision for public art.
Watchet Marina too has the potential to become a destination that encourages visitors and tourism with a new design that celebrates its maritime history. This vibrant piece of public realm could reconnect the town with water features, outdoor cafés, and waterside footpaths and views across the water for everyone to enjoy.
We are delighted to be part of a creative collaboration reimagining Watchet. The inspirational team at Onion Collective show what is achievable with strong public support. We look forward to developing aesthetic and robust landscape designs driven by the community for the community.