Sketch Designs

What a diverse bunch we are, from extreme wow ,noisy, party, to calm considered and conservative. I noticed that nearly all of us had a phrase  that our favoured design seem to spring from, even if we did not know it before presenting. You have to go with your own personality and how you see the world to get passion, otherwise its just ‘another job’. There was plenty of passion yesterday.

I will not tell you which one was chosen to develop yet, so that if any viewers would like to comment then there is no bias. An initial idea sketch followed by a more detailed sketch. The three words they are inspired by are Connective, Educational and Alternative.

Click on image to enlarge.

The big idea is to re-connect Tunbridge wells with the Park (known as the grounds really needs to changed as it congers up the wrong picture as one thinks of sport, not leisure). So when some one says Tunbridge Wells they would think Calverley Park. Connect with people and their every day life, whether using its direct routes as a more pleasant walk from one end of town to another or stopping for a cup of coffee and a rest whilst admiring the views, promising to come back another day to explore further. Connect Business so that they have a vested interest in the park staying well maintained (through Business rates). Concert venue, water and ice, fantastic planting scheme, restaurants, circular walk/run, all designed to pull visitors and regulars into the park. It should be part of the day when in Tunbridge Wells. 
Education about food. Local schools, colleges and higher education, to use the facilities and be hand on. Local markets to sell produce on the site. All the cafe’s and restaurants to have a theme of fresh produce, cooked on site (no boil in the bag) and reasonable pricing to show good food does not have to be expensive. Large play area with bespoke designed equipment for the process of education through play. Circular walks of woodland and amazing planting.
Simular themes of connection and leisure incorporated in the design. User groups to have a say in the running of the park, so to attain adoption from the start.

An alternative experience of the landscape. Using the topography to our advantage, rather than being frightened of the challenges it throws up. Cutting into the landscape creating a valley with high sides, making and enclosure. The navigation is not obvious and is rewarded with surprise views of the park plus some enclosed viewing points over the lake. A contrast is the large grassed area’s, very formal for play and relaxation. A concert stage cut into the hill looking over the lake (facing S/E). On the south facing side superb planting schemes to draw people in for a more meandering walk, exploring scent, colour and texture.
Upper area restaurant with fountains and ice rink in the winter. Water fall working its way down to the lake. Circular walk for the dog walkers and runners. Adoption as above encouraged.
So there we  have it, three big idea’s, one choice. Your thoughts would be gratefully received. Still more development needed but its a start.

7 thoughts on “Sketch Designs

  1. From Whitney Hedges;

    Hi Grant, I really like connective, the design seems confident and I love the central strip bit, besides as far as I'm aware there is nothing to do for leasure in tunbridge wells aide from shop and eat. of which there is plenty. I'm a big fan of Ice skating I noticed it was involved in the third design could it be included here as well ? maybe it allready is my mind is soo slippery

    Whitney you obviously have a masculine streak in you as well, for some reason that sounds so wrong.


  2. Wow Grant, good stuff! You work deserves more time than I have today but will look closer in the next couple of days.

    Connectivity… more later but just quickly…. It’s dynamic, it loses slightly in transition from initial sketch (very Kaplinski) to the rendered sketch, it’s so hard to keep that initial looseness and power when you visit a drawing for a second time and in the light of real world constraints, but it’s still strong.
    It shouts out ‘connectivity’ reaching out in to the surrounding landscape which seems to be slightly outside the design site boundary (which is not clear) but in terms of form and, from the notes, function, especially to the west, it’s great. Anyway, Jamie said you have to bend the brief sometimes.
    To the east it has lost its axial strength from the sketch with the northeast and south west splayed avenues disappearing. But it looks like a great start. Can’t wait to see the elevation sketches!

    Education… I can’t get excited about education, not your design, I mean education sites in general. Well I can, having spent the most satisfying four years of my life in recent education, but they always seem to under deliver. Usually erring on the side of safe rather than dynamic and dangerous!
    Your design looks like you are breaking down the divisions between educational spaces and public commercial spaces, which has a real buzz about it. The development from the sketch to the rendered sketch is a real strengthening of the design, but I have doubts about a thirty metre wide avenue through the entire park; might be a bit visually brutal. Mind you dropping the water nearly twenty metres looks exciting. That’s a lot of water to move, I’m assuming its moving due to the contour changes and render lines (oh yes… I’ve just seen the waterfall). I’m not sure of the benefit of taking the main body of water under the main concourse (implied by dotted line) but I’m sure of the technical implications… ouch!

    Alternative… initial sketch looks weak and unstructured, compared to ‘connectivity’. Don’t be offended, it’s just my view, but I must be honest or it would be a pointless review. I think it maybe a lack of direction, but the rendered sketch is a vast development. The more I look the more I like it… some really exciting stuff going on especially if you take into account local geology and materiality. Ops… gone on a bit long but look forward to seeing the rendered sections for the selected options if you post them and don’t mind me looking.

    Oh…and by the way I’m really impressed you managed to render all three sketches. I assume they are A1. Great start to masterplanning!


  3. Hi Grant,
    Ok have lived in and around Tunbridge Wells for 16 years and have only been to Calverley Grounds once. I park by it frequently, and drive past it on all sides but I never go in to it so on that basis.
    Connectivity – Love the dynamics of this design, the speed through the middle and the calm around. I can imagine people rushing through in their lunch hours or eating a relaxed lunch and watching the rush. It has a feeling of openness that the other designs lack. With the connection to the new shopping area and winter activities the design seems to cover all the seasons and would fit in well with the new developments being considered for TW town centre. Very clever.
    Educational – Nice idea to have a place for the farmers market and all the healthy eating options are laudable but maybe would only attract and educate the educated. The use of space is good but doesn’t solve the hidden away feeling of the current park. Maybe it’s just a girly personal security thing, but in a town centre park, close to a mainline station, the woodland walk feels a bit enclosed.
    Alternative – A modern twist on a victorian park, I feel it lacks the definition of the other two designs. The country park feel is nice but unnecessary in a relatively rural area. Design maintains the feeling of enclosure.
    Oh that all sounds a bit formal!! Connectivity is by far my favourite.


  4. Hi Grant
    Would love to see models or perspective sketches and you talk me through them, but, based on these 3 plans, I prefer Alternative. I'm 'reading' the large green rounds as turfed earthworks? I'm also a sucker for loose organic freeform shapes, tempered – actually, in my view enhanced – by geometric shapes. And I think this design hits that balance, creating an interesting, demanding, in some ways, space. I really like the bold idea of creating a valley through a large public space like this – not sure i've seen that done before… I like that you've created an island and i like the amount and form of water and views over it. I like the jingle jangle of herbaceous beds and the extent of planting throughout – for a plant fancier – alwasys a plus! Hope you're pleased. I'm now gonna read what the others said. Cheers for now, Lisa


  5. From Jason Wells

    I will just say though that the the connective design was my immediate favourite and loved the idea of bringing the periphery of the park in via the footbridge etc, thought it really worked. reckon the shadow could be alleviated with clever use of materials. i like the other designs also but that stood out for me from the start.



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