We have recently delivered five new retail units, totalling 12,223 sq.ft at the popular Retail World near Gateshead. The project contains a mix of retail and food and drink units with external seating areas, alterations to existing car parking and landscaping.
Our design reflects the area’s strong mining and manufacturing heritage. Powder-coated composite panels, resembling the rusted steel of the nearby Angel of the North. The intention is to create an aged industrial feel to contrast the extensive modern glazing and aluminium framed glazed shopfronts. A glazed canopy projects slightly from the units fronting the pedestrian link, providing both an elegant and unifying finish to the units and offers a partial shelter to pedestrians and users of the external seating area.
The new terrace is situated in a prominent location, directly on the site entrance, the design fits coherently within site as a whole. Its frontages establish a relationship with the units already within the retail park, giving a sense of enclosure and cohesiveness to the space generally. The distances within the retail park are quite vast in pedestrian terms and the new units create a ‘respite island’, reducing the perceived distances and adding more interest and variety for the public.
Josh Rowley, Associate Director says: “The withdrawal of one of the previous anchor tenants from the original line-up, gave us the opportunity to redesign the terrace, increasing the number of proposed units and enhance the park’s retail offer without impacting the existing tenants.”
Creating a pedestrian-friendly space where people would be happy to spend quality time, was an important factor in our design. Around the new terrace, a number of fixed benches are set between ‘rain gardens’ and trees in tree grills which together will partially screen and give a softer edge to the development. The rain gardens contain wetland grasses and perennials beds which will contribute towards surface water attenuation.
In addition to reconfiguring the existing car parking to maintain the overall number of parking spaces, a key pedestrian route was developed to improve links across the site. This pedestrian pathway is a bold and highly legible feature, lined by columnar Hornbeam trees. A row of lower flowering Dogwood trees provide a splash of colour and a more intimate scale, creating a physical barrier but allowing views through to the retail park beyond. Careful siting of this route will make it possible, in the future, to link through to the Minories site, part of a wider masterplan.
Concludes Josh Rowley: “Our client, Gateshead Retail World, Team Valley, handed the units over to the tenants in February and they are already home to recognisable names such as Card Factory, O2, Bells Fish & Chips and Costa, plus another planned fast food operator. The modern aesthetic of the terrace, plus the pedestrian friendly landscaping and the strong mix of retailers will add significantly to the park’s offer and improve dwell times.”
You can read more about this project in our portfolio.