Second Saturday workshop – regenerating dockside

Our Saturday design sessions continued this month, with the first of two consecutive workshops led by our Gold Sponsors Arup and Planit-IE. Activities focussed on their joint live project – the regenerative masterplan for Dockside at Liverpool Waterfront.

The session began with a ‘hairy drawing’ activity, which asked participants to visually describe their journey to our workshop location that morning, from memory. This was followed by an introductory presentation to the Dockside project by Planit-IE’s Anna Couch, followed by a site visit. During our walk around the site, we discussed existing environmental and heritage features, local buildings and their uses, and site conditions, opportunities and constraints. We asked participants to consider their personal experiences and opinions towards the site and surrounding area.

On our return, participants split up into smaller groups to design a public ‘intervention’ for the Dockside site – “what would make you and your friends want to regularly spend time here?” For inspiration, PLACED presented a few international architectural, landscape, and infrastructural design projects – including Heatherwick Studio’s Little Island, a park and events space by the Hudson River in New York, and the Serpentine Pavilion (2021) designed by Counterspace. We asked participants to pay particular attention to the design team’s priorities for the project – heritage, nature, culture and leisure, and productivity.

Each group described their ideas through the medium of collage, cutting and pasting magazines and coloured card, alongside drawing and sketching. Many worked directly on top of the site plan provided, indicating strategies for improvements to the site as a whole. Each group presented and explained their ideas, then took part in a wider discussion with PLACED, Sponsors and Ambassadors. Their ideas were imaginative and well considered, including markets, arcades, parks, water sports, nightlife venues, street lighting, cycle hire schemes and racing tracks. Many groups explained that they’d like to see a range of fun activities, environmental initiatives, heritage features brought back into use, and the area to feel safer.

We would like to thank Ian Ford and Katelyn Nagle (ARUP) as well as Anna Couch and Rebecca Foy (Planit-IE), for planning and delivering the session, and their continued support. We’d also like to thank PLACED Ambassadors Diya Calleechurn and Chris Aitken-Smith for their support on the day.