Landezine
International
Landscape
Award
Levitt Bernstein

From our design studios in London and Manchester, we are committed to creating landscapes that offer a lifetime of pleasure with an emphasis on people led, inventive design. Our holistic approach to all projects means we are able to provide expertise from macro-scale masterplanning to micro-scale detailing. We promote the importance of spaces between buildings and balance creative responses to a project brief with a thorough understanding of each site – its context, heritage, topography, climate, hydrology and habitat value. We are passionate about creating attractive, distinctive and robust environments and believe that sustainable design has an essential role at the heart of all successful public spaces. Each of our projects starts with the people we’re designing for; we work side-by-side with end-users and clients from the very outset; engaging in consultation throughout the placemaking process to create spaces that are inherently beautiful and functional.

Aberfeldy Estate

Our brief was to deliver a masterplan, transforming the Aberfeldy Estate in Poplar, east London, into a new urban village, drawing out the area’s history as part of London’s docklands and realising new and improved connections. A new community of 1,176 new homes was established around a central park space – a key component of the public amenity that also draws people away from the busy A13 roadway. The park was deliberately placed at the heart of the neighbourhood, offering a range of experiences through open lawns, varied play spaces, avenue trees and seasonal planting for year-round colour. The park also forms part of the sustainable drainage system with a swale channel and biodiverse meadow planting along its length. Generous cast concrete stairs face south, providing informal seating. A planting strategy developed with the London Wildlife Trust supports diverse habitat types that previously did not exist – with biodiverse roofs, native wildflowers, nectar-rich flowering plants and hidden boxes for birds and bats. Public realm spaces frame the park to support non-residential uses including retail and a community centre. The primary route has a paved square at the centre with fountains and large species trees, and draws residents towards the rail station using a new street designed with shared-surface principles. Public art draws upon the site’s rich past and bespoke elements are integrated throughout, including tea chests, carved stones and inlaid paisley patterning.

Devonshire Park

Since 1873, Devonshire Park has been an attraction both within Eastbourne and for the wider south coast. Following a design competition, we were appointed to provide a new public realm masterplan for the site. In addition to improving tennis facilities and decluttering existing highway arrangements, our brief was to integrate new conference facilities with the existing heritage assets, including the Grade II listed Devonshire Park and Winter Garden theatres. We saw the opportunity to bring the park back into public view, transforming the quality of visitor experience and re-establishing this key destination. Our design creates a public plaza to unite the theatre venues with a new outdoor ‘green room’ that draws activity and exhibition space out from the buildings. An outdoor café and refined access arrangements provide an open, legible pedestrian arrival space with a sea-facing outlook. New coastal-style planting swathes and avenues of trees, including disease-resistant elms, reinforce a parkland setting and strengthen connections to Eastbourne’s promenade and town centre. Visitor-flow strategies for a variety of events consider effective use of the space – from low season to peak times when the venue hosts national conferences and international tennis tournaments. The re-connection of the park with Eastbourne will reveal somewhere visitors can enjoy state-of-the-art amenities within a high quality landscape setting, which celebrates its heritage and truly unique location.

Gascoigne East

Our proposals, developed alongside Allies + Morrison, provide a visionary new masterplan for the regeneration of the Gascoigne Estate in Barking, east London. We established a traditional street pattern to improve links to the neighbouring town centre, whilst a sequence of new greenspaces overlays this to ensure open spaces are dispersed throughout. Movement by foot and bicycle is naturally promoted through the creation of wide, uncluttered streets. A large park sits in the centre and sustainable urban drainage principles are subtly integrated here and along key streets. Pedestrian desire lines towards the adjacent primary school and other non-residential uses inform the geometry of the space. The landscape led the overarching concept of weaving – drawing upon the area’s original marshland landscape with fishing heritage and subsequent Victorian history of jute spinning mills and production of rope and hessian fabrics. An imaginative response to interlocking materials and ‘woven’ patterns helped define the character of distinct neighbourhoods across the development, which can be seen within the landscape through net-based play structures and ‘fishing hut’ shelters set within new pine trees. The design of courtyards similarly takes on this theme with threads of pattern running up from ground level to podium shared spaces. These aloft spaces provide toddler play, outdoor eating and produce sheltered growing opportunities for residents to enjoy.

Ocean Estate

Ocean Estate in Stepney, east London, was one of Britain’s most deprived neighbourhoods when a proposal for the regeneration of the estate was initiated in 2009. The brief was to provide a masterplan which focused on the creation of public realm alongside the delivery and refurbishment of new and existing homes. Designed to promote activity, the scheme is based on the design principles for a compact city promoted by the London Plan. Shared-surface streets support informal play for children and social spaces in which residents can engage and feel a sense of pride and ownership. We achieved a better connected street pattern with new routes, where pedestrians and cyclists are given priority. This improved permeability increased safety for both immediate residents and the wider community. All new buildings adopted central courtyard spaces, designed for shared use, to both enliven and promote safety. Our design strategies prioritised biodiversity, with new homes created for bats and swifts, and hibernacula environments for macro and micro invertebrates. Surface water attenuation has been mitigated and run-off reduced through the use of intensive and extensive species-loaded green and brown roof systems and the widespread use of water butts in domestic spaces. Importantly, our award-winning scheme used local resident focus groups to inform the design process, with monthly forums and a series of fun days and events, enabling the community to provide direct feedback to our design team.

Wormholt Park

We redesigned Wormholt Park in response to a competition for a new layout for the historic park. Demand from the local community for improvements to the facilities on offer meant the park gained funding from a new mixed-use development on the eastern boundary. The new building incorporates community facilities, which in turn informed the goals of the park design: wellbeing and inclusivity. Consultation with the community was key to re-launching the park as the borough’s flagship space for disability sports and play. Within a large play area designed for under 12’s, 50% of the amenities are inclusive for children with disabilities – including a state-of-the-art wheelchair swing, roundabout and trampoline, with other elements for sensory-play value. Local school pupils sketched out ideas for play, and one was chosen to be implemented within the park. Young Aman Rahmani’s elaborately drawn dragon has been transformed into a fiery head for the accessible slide by local artist Joel Parkes, who transformed a mature tree trunk into a piece of place-specific sculpture. Elsewhere, existing facilities were updated to provide a large ball court, multi-use games area and ping pong tables, whilst an adapted path structure provides a circular running loop leaving a more generous open space for events. The new development provides a strong edge east of the park and frames a prominent pedestrian entrance to a paved square, serving as a destination for a new weekend market with local traders.

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