Central Promenade, Morecambe, Lancashire, UK- 2005
New masterplan for an historic 5.6 hectare site in central Morecambe overlooking Morecambe Bay.
Morecambe seafront is a problem area. In off-peak periods, especially winter months, there is little to attract either visitors or residents. This is most evident on the given site with many inactive and underutilised open spaces blighting an otherwise attractive seaside location.
We proposed to reverse the years of neglect and piecemeal development. By intensifying the edge and promenade we created a renewed sense of place with a range of evolving attractors instead of isolated seasonal attractions of limited appeal. We gave emphasis to the spaces in between through a strategy that responds to the existing assets and also scenic vistas and the sensitivity of the ground within the new setting.
The Central Promenade site is unique within Morecambe as it straddles the boundary between land and sea, is exposed to the elements and therefore requires special consideration. With respect to this difference, we have employed a unifying process that lends itself to the sensitivities and characteristics of the wider landscape of Morecambe Bay. The sand and sea of Morecambe Bay are continually evolving. Looking at the sand casts on the beach we observed the shifting spaces in between the ridges, invented anew with each influx of the tide. We have adopted this analogy as a model for the buildings and spaces between them. Scales vary from large, open public squares connected by the promenade, to smaller courtyards and intimate passageways to dwellings.
The large permanent squares need to cope with large influxes of visitors and locals alike. We have allowed for uses at ground level to overspill, recede or merge, both between buildings and between seasons. The analogy of the rock pool is useful here, as a space that fills up and empties out frequently. We have considered how this influences the four different squares with different spatial and material qualities responding to the temporal nature and seasonal change of the buildings they serve.
Stream Square- A sloped outdoor foyer for the new Ecology Centre, the watery space also serves as a cool-off zone for overheated summer holidaymakers. This space also frames the first phase and is the first of the new permanent landscaping.
Market Square- A platform for Morecambe’s cultural industries, hosting arts and crafts markets spilling beyond the live/work units and just off the beaten tourist trail.
Green Square- Bowls and crazy golf animate the protected lawns enjoyed by tourists and overlooked by residents year round.
Wintergarden Square- A municipal square that doubles as a summer fairground location and winter icerink and also host to farmer’s markets, car boot sales and weekly theatre events from the refurbished Victoria Pavilion. The Pavilion will also serve as an out of season conference venue.
The Ecocentre will become the main focus within the early phases and will tell the story of Morecambe Bay, its evolving landscape, wildlife and ecosystem. Interactive exhibits will be visible from the promenade and the roofscape will double as an extended promenade, lookout and ting surface depression on site.
Integral to the development of the Morecambe scheme was its progressive evolution in phases, to maintain attractions whilst under construction. Temporary, mega-scale, interactive landscapes created a vibrant park along the seafront. Wind, sun and water being the raw materials used to animate the site with movement, light and sound for maximum spatial and visual effect; each art project occupying a future plot and will ‘grow’ into a building over time. The impermanent state of the surroundings captured by the works.