The contract to design Ireland’s first large scale urban wetlands and park surrounding a modern sports stadium, which it is hoped will act as a catalyst project for the redevelopment of Cork Docklands, has been awarded by Cork City Council.
Speaking at the announcement, Pat Ledwidge, Director of Services, Strategic Planning and Economic Development, Cork City Council said:
“This proposed regional park will achieve a number of objectives for the city including the provision of a world class modern urban park facility for the citizens of Cork while facilitating the upgrading of Pairc Ui Chaoimh into a high quality modern sport centre which will enhance the match day experience for all involved”.
The winning concept design, led by Dutch and Irish landscape architects OKRA and REDscape, took the City Council’s brief for the redevelopment of Marina Park to a new level and offers an exciting vision of dynamic landscapes and ecosystems tailored to a modern and developing city. The design concept includes a sequence of urban water gardens, watercourses and wetland areas which will recycle storm water from the adjacent docklands and create a sustainable environment for the new city park on the River Lee.
Contemporary urban spaces will be generated around Pairc Ui Chaoimh so it can, along with facilitating the GAA supporters on match days, also host Cork’s cultural events, festivities and gatherings thereby turning the project into a catalyst for the regeneration of the south docklands area. Integration of the GAA’s proposals for the stadium into the park will form an important element of the design work. “We propose to engage with the G.A.A. to integrate their plans into the new park design to ensure permeability and a highly successful park for all its users” stated Boudewijn Almekinders (OKRA) and Patrick McCabe (REDscape) to issues of public concern.
The transformation of the 35 hectare site , will be implemented over a number of years on a phased basis as funding allows and will also ensure the conservation of historic structures such as Barrington’s folly.
Landscape architects OKRA and REDscape, in association with O’Connor Sutton Cronin (engineers), Venhoeven CS (architects), Howley Hayes (conservation architects), Fehily Timoney (environment and ecology), Modus Operandi (art consultants), and Davis Langdon PKS (quantity surveyors) will work closely with Cork City Council on this project.
While the overall cost for the design project (4 No. Phases) is approximately €600k, approval for phases 1 & 2 has been given by the City Manager for €240k. These phases include for the production of an overall Landscape Masterplan for the site in phase 1 which is expected by mid June 2012. This will be followed in phase 2 by a detailed landscape design for the lands surrounding Pairc Ui Chaoimh.