The main intention behind the design of the Promenade is to create a bold, simple space at the end of the Brunel Mile that complements the other mainly mineral spaces along it. A space with a clear identity, pleasant to walk through back and forth and stop alongside whilst not being a destination in itself, in dialogue with the harbour side, presenting the view to the SS Great Britain, working with and expressing the slipway aspect of the site.

The space generated by the drop of levels and the surrounding buildings is very similar to gully spaces in a ‘natural’ landscape. The project utilises these particular man-made conditions to create a landscape specific to the space, which will be fed by the runoff rainwater from the surrounding buildings.

The different growing conditions (slope, orientation, rainwater runoff) are highlighted by the use of a variety of biodiversity and habitats (grasses, damp grassland, marginal vegetation and woodland groundcover). Combined with these conditions the experience of the harbour side (ruderal plants and riparian habitat) is drawn up into the Promenade.

Specially selected grasses and planting species have been carefully considered and positioned within the landscape in accordance with their individual water needs. Water dependant species are located at lower gradients while those with less need planted at higher gradients. Rainwater run-off is collected prior to entry to the Harbour Inlet and re-circulated as necessary thereby keeping maintenance costs low.

The boardwalk passing through the space acts as the main thoroughfare floating over the landscape with side jetties allowing points of rest. Access to the meadow on the sunny side is open as a slower space of tall grasses.

The project was developed in collaboration with Grants Associates Landscape architects and Edward Cullinan Architects

Art and the Public Realm Bristol