Coalfield and Fort Dunlop Schwartzed

Famous landscape architect to help coalfield regeneration

One of the world’s most famous landscape architects is getting her knees mucky on coalfield regeneration and also working on a landmark industrial building. Martha Schwartz is working at breakneck speed with English Partnerships on a former mining village near Castleford, which is due for completion in August. “We have to environmentally reclaim the landscape and this raises the question of what is it and what did it originally look like,” said the Massachusetts designer. “So much of it was spoiled by the mining. “However it’s not just about pretty places but wider economic regeneration. We have to reattach the village to modern life and create a new role for what was once a bedroom community for Leeds.” The project for New Fryston includes a new open space and new houses. Her firm, MSI, is working on Birmingham’s Fort Dunlop, which has just won planning approval. The landmark building will be turned from a former warehouse into a 95-bedroomed hotel, shops, leisure and workspaces. The thrust of the three-hectare project is a 50m-long blue spine running through the middle of the building near the M6. This will punch out of the rear of the block and be surrounded by grass, a blue courtyard and trees. Martha Schwartz, who opened a UK branch office recently said the developer, Urban Splash, was “fantastic” to work with. The project is due on site in spring.

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