Product / system supply
North East England
Hull City Council
Magma granite, Prima Porphyry, Kellen Lavaro
As City of Culture 2017, Hull has taken the opportunity to regenerate its public realm. Significant works have been undertaken through large areas of the city - including fourteen streets and four public squares - finishing in the historic marina area.
The aim of Hull City Coucil's investment was to transform people’s perceptions of Hull by creating high quality, inviting places that the city could be proud of, where people wanted to be and which attracted businesses.
In a programme of temporary artwork installations to celebrate this year’s UK City of Culture, a 75m long rotor blade was unveiled in Queen Victoria Square. Over the course of 2017, hundreds of blades will be made at the new Siemens factory in Hull for North Sea wind farms as part of a “green energy” strategy to generate more jobs in the area.
Hardscape worked with Hull City Council and the design team to create hard surfacing for the new public realm. Magma granite was chosen as the predominant material, both for its durability and colour variation. The warm tones complement the predominantly brick architecture but also bring together other architectural materials - such as cropped and flamed Portington granite setts in the historic marina area - to create an attractive surface. Over 20,000m2 of Magma granite were used in various unit sizes which allowed for greater design freedom to adjust to the many different contexts. 15,000m2 of Kellen Lavaro modular concrete were also used together with five hundred linear metres of granite kerbs and accessory details and 2000m2 of Hardscape’s Prima Porphyry from Italy.
Several major Artscape features were installed including lettering around a central water feature and a stainless steel strip within the paving where the old castle walls once stood.
The scale of the project and the timescale for design and construction placed a great deal of importance on the specification and delivery of material. The volume of material required for site also posed logistical issues in the management and manoeuvring of stocks throughout the site. Over 45,000m2 of stone was laid over a 18 month period.
The complexity of working in city centres and the immovable end date, presented by the start of the City of Culture celebrations, meant that expedient delivery of stone was absolutely critical. The volume of material and speed of installation placed additional strain and emphasis on quality control for works on site.
Measures were taken by Hull City Council and the design team to tender and order materials ahead of contractor appointments to ensure the construction programme was adhered to.
Hull city centre has been completely transformed. Footfall has increased by 11% and over 30 new businesses have opened since the completion of the works. The new streets and spaces have already hosted a number of cultural events, which have captured the imagination of locals and tourists alike. Spaces such as Queen Victoria Square and Trinity Square are now destinations in their own right.
The most significant sign that the project has been a success is the number of people who now linger in the city centre – people are using the streets and squares as places to stop and spend time.