Westgate Theatre Square will be new cultural destination
Plans for a new public square on in front of Ipswich’s Westgate Theatre, on top of the city’s famous 1960s Spiral car park, have been unanimously approved by Ipswich Borough Council.
Westgate Theatre Square is designed by locally based Area Landscape Architects working with Waind Gohil Architects. It will create a more attractive approach to the theatre and tie it back into the rest of town with a new walkway and crossing, at the same time acting as a flexible events space, informal meeting place and a destination for food and culture.
A series of terraces will divide the currently windswept square into more intimate areas. The large central terrace and paved terrace in front of the theatre can be used for performances, events, theatre audience meeting point and cafe terrace. Soft lighting will be a mix of functional and feature; at night, low-level LEDs set into the terrace surface will produce an atmospheric starry effect.
The new single-storey restaurant building will have its own alfresco dining area surrounded by planting. Enclosed beds follow steps and ramps from the theatre down to the Lower Terrace at the main street level – the main arrival and orientation point.
Contemporary and traditional
Simple but hard-wearing materials, including stone, timber, metalwork and brick, have been used in a contemporary way while reflecting East Anglian tradition. Signage has been integrated into the design to avoid visual clutter.
Planting will be generous throughout with enclosed and raised beds, and existing London plane trees maintained. AREA has selected plants that will offer a refined appearance and harmonious colour palate that’s in keeping with the wider landscape and responds well to seasonal change.
There will be plenty of provision for cycle parking around the edge of the square in addition to improvements to the underground Spiral carpark itself.
Work is due to be completed in summer 2016 and is part of a wider plan to regenerate the former civic centre site and create of new town quarter over the next few years.
Keep abreast of plans for Ipswich’s new Westgate Quarter at www.ipswichwestgate.com.