Cork Docklands Public Realm Competition, Ireland

Location: Cork, Ireland
Client: Cork City Council
Architects: HKR
Size: 166 hectares
Status: Completed 2009

Our concept looks at the space between the buildings, places where public life is played out. It is concerned with the spatial arrangement and a hierarchy of spaces, the material treatment of road and pavement surfaces, the balance of hard and soft treatments, and the items placed within the landscape; lighting, street furniture, and public art.

The Master Plan for Cork Docklands has maximized pedestrian access along the water’s edge, with public quaysides on both the north and south side of the River Lee. This major new plaza and park forms a new gateway into Cork, with new bridges over the River. In this design, Mooring will be provided for tall ships, water taxis, rowing boats and yachts. The floating landscapes will also provide a wildlife refuge for resident and migrating wildlife, bringing nature back into the heart of the city.

The concept exploits the park infrastructure set out in the Dockland Area Plans to create a series of interlinked, green open spaces that bring light and air into the dense urban fabric of Cork Docklands. The Kennedy Spine has been widened to reinforce the physical and visual connection with the North Docklands and the community park in the south.

Throughout Cork Docklands there will be a variety of hard and soft landscaped spaces of different scales at intervals along key pedestrian routes, providing an easily recognizable link to different parts of the city centre. These spaces, such as the canal link to the District Centre, will offer the opportunity for further innovation, and the creation of a unique public realm for Cork Docklands.