Landscape Architects and Urban Designers HarrisonStevens are an international award-winning design practice based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Excellence, innovation, and integrity ensure that we are consistently delivering robust, high quality, cost effective external environments. Valued unique places are crafted through excellent design; they respond to context and are people focused.
Design, technical delivery and research are at the forefront of our practice. We have four core values:
Innovation – our drive and creativity bring about positive change to the environment within which we practice
Integrity – we care deeply about our work and this shines through every aspect of our design and project delivery
Excellence – all that we do is executed to the highest possible standards, striving to exceed client expectations
Legacy – long term vision is a key landscape consideration. Longevity and reduced lifelong burden are at the core of what we do.
Our unique studio environment fosters creativity and experimentation, a place to come up with new ideas and to test and measure innovation. Our strong vision and consistency of approach facilitates the successful delivery and enduring legacy of our award-winning portfolio. The practice encompasses a balance of many disciplines including; concept design, urban design, masterplanning, construction, art and architecture. Our team of dedicated individuals excel in developing masterplans and design coding through to detailed design and the successful on-site delivery of projects.
Our philosophy is embedded in the social and cultural history of the place. We are always informed by context, natural processes and aspired use. We consider the following from project inception to completion;
Context – can be interpreted into the landscape physically through considered use of materials as well as more literally in the geometry and setting out the spaces. In considering and embracing the context of setting, environment, history, society and geography, local distinctiveness, civic vitality and identity are enhanced.
Place – Our response to context starts to shape the place. We design places not spaces, places have character and identity, spaces exist between vertical form, it’s the embellishment of space which creates place. Our projects create unique places of fun and engagement.
Swiss-Army Landscape – In order to retain key design principles from inception to delivery ensuring that the solutions we provide our multi-functional is fundamental. Our landscapes work hard on multiple levels. A bench is not just a seat it will define a route, retain growing medium for nurturing planting, provide sculptural artistic interpretation and respond to social demand. The bespoke design components which define the place act like a swiss army knife, they are multi-tools of public realm.
Community – We offer a platform for communities to be heard, we are good listeners.
Longevity – The projects long-term needs will be exceeded. Our high-quality design and detailing will minimise the long-term life cycle costs of the project and reduce the burden of ongoing maintenance. Aftercare, longevity and sustainability are at the forefront of project development delivery.
Consistency in approach with a strong vision and holding firm to our values, delivered with integrity, in all aspects of a project from consultant collaboration to working with contractors, ensure that we leave the very best.
Infrastructure proposals for the new HIU campus extending over 35Ha, expressing the Scottish Highland landscape. The estate loop road frames the campus amenity core incorporating ponds, an island gallery, tree lined avenues and parks. Threaded by the visual axis northwards towards the Kessock Bridge and Ben Wyvis beyond.
A key project deliverable is the integration of adjacent landscape resources and the migration of species diversity into and through the site. A strong unifying landscape structure will establish discrete pockets of development within a wider landscape typology based on a strong concept borne out of the highland landscape.
The amenity core to the campus, central to all the collegiate buildings and activity on the park, is formed by the Campus Green and Beechwood Park. Within which a series of ponds receive the surface water run-off from the roads, plots and paths throughout the campus. The water features offer an attractive landscape and potential varied habitats among the native marginal and aquatic planted edges. Beechwood Park is a native tree grove with open fields for recreation while Campus Green is more civic with formal paths, intimate spaces, ponds and sculptural island gallery. An earthworks strategy for the project includes sculpture landform to the A9 boundary, together with native tree planting providing an acoustic barrier. A retained watercourse through the site reinforces the ecological corridor across the campus.
Inverness, Scotland, UK | Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) | 2010 – 2014 | 35 Ha
A unique, locally sensitive and historically contextual response, providing student residences in the heart of Edinburgh. Taking inspiration from the adjacent volcanic landscape of Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags, the palette of materials, both underfoot and on buildings, is informed by the immediate context and the desire to create a unique new urban landscape. Within an UNESCO world heritage site, the Old Town of Edinburgh is an iconic city scape. Natural light is a valuable design component in such a dense urban environment. The relationship between light and dark through confined and open space within the Old Town is a key contributor to the spatial quality upon which the developed urban form draws. The public realm in turn responds to climate, aspect and colour through appropriate form, materiality and planting. The constant reference of glimpse views between buildings towards familiar Edinburgh landmarks, the Crags or just the original historic buildings, provide constant reminders and comfort of context and orientation. This characteristically tight grain and steeply stepped site of the Old Town did significantly challenge the external environments’ ability to deliver a modern student facility. The design solutions capitalised by delivering a slow-flow, shared surface, and public realm that maximises use and integrated facilities to reduce clutter. Internationally awarded in recognition of the unique placemaking, context response and exacting detail delivery.
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK | University of Edinburgh | 2012 – 2016 | 1.8 Ha
High-quality public realm improvements to the south of the Forth and Clyde Canal has provided Clydebank with a new town square and direct access to the canal. The town’s world-famous ship building history has informed the design in paving, play and solar lighting while renovating and relocating the Victorian bandstand was central to the proposals. These include redefining the market and town square, renovation and relocation of the bandstand, graphic signing to building facades, canal towpath resurfacing, play space and the animation of the canal through the square with new access to the canal edge. The project is comprised of a series of three interconnected spaces; Three Queens Square, Church Green and the Orchard. Local school pupil’s art works are incorporated into recessed solar lights. The play and sculptural elements depict the three Cunard cruise ships which were built in Clydebank. The route of the old railway lines is represented in the Three Queens Square paving, terminated with granite buffer seating blocks. The paving patterns recreate the essence of steam arising from the tracks. This central community focussed space now provides a high-quality venue for events, weekly markets and seasonal festivals while contextually reconnecting the users with their recent history. A rejuvenated heart to the community and central to the town functions, reflecting a proud history and proud town.
Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, UK | Clydebank Re-built/West Dunbartonshire Council | 2005 – 2011 | 2.5 Ha
The creation of a world-class, dynamic campus that is a constituent part of the wider University of Edinburgh estate. The proposals aspire to catalyse a high quality, buzzing, 24/7 physical environment where people want to work, study and socialise as well as promote a world-leading community of excellence for Science and Engineering across all disciplines of teaching, research and industry. The masterplan sets out principles to unify the schools into urban blocks with a consistent high quality, attractive and accessible landscape. This landscape serves as an environment that promotes and facilitates inter-school collaboration and provides spaces that are flexible, incorporating state of the art learning & teaching facilities. Furthermore, the intent for the campus proposals is to break down boundaries and integrate with the wider community. The landscape proposals include two Civic Entrances, Plazas, Perimeter Park, Central Green and Integrated Sustainable Drainage. These revived areas of public realm will generate a sense of arrival at the campus, rationalise campus parking, and enhance the strong visual connections across the campus providing coherence, legibility and orientation. The Central Green is a democratic space, representative of a shared amenity between all schools on the campus. It creates an iconic setting to the campus. Design guides have been written to control the quality and consistency of the public realm.
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK | University of Edinburgh | 2014 – Ongoing | 6.3 Ha
Wavegarden® Scotland will deliver Scotland’s first world-class inland surf destination, including additional leisure facilities and associated accommodation, within a dedicated country park on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The facility also aspires to be a high-performance hub for several associated water and land-based sports. The surrounding country park is designed to provide a context and setting for the international destination as well as a welcoming greenspace for the local community. The site, Craigpark Quarry, is an uncontaminated former quarry. The existing topography of the land creates a natural amphitheatre which provides character and serves as protection from the prevailing winds. Steep cliffs lie to the west and north-west and provide a dramatic backdrop. The Union Canal lies to the North within an established woodland wildlife corridor. The formed basin to the base of the quarry, is largely contained on all sides by landform; both physically and visually. Embedding features, boundaries and services within the topography to create a coherent and cohesive country park landscape allows the challenging site to be embraced as an asset. The proposals create a varied landscape experience, habitat biodiversity and can considerately accommodate variety of activities. The approach, in addition to the aesthetic considerations, offers a very low carbon footprint and reinforces the sense of place that is fundamental to the value of the country park.
Ratho, Scotland, UK | Tartan Leisure Ltd | 2014 – Ongoing | 23.7 Ha