Gravesend Heritage Quarter
This complex town centre scheme comprises a mix of retail (~200,000sqft) and residential (~320 residential units) alongside community facilities and widespread public realm improvements, in the immediate setting of a Grade 1 Listed Building, two Conservation Areas and numerous Grade 2* and Grade 2 Listed Buildings. Define were initially involved to audit an earlier scheme that failed to obtain planning permission and recommended an alternative approach to scheme concept and massing that would respond more favourably to the existing town assets (heritage, place and river). We were subsequently appointed to shape a new application, carrying out design advocacy, townscape and visual impact assessment and public realm design, which culminated in obtaining a planning permission in 2014. A key part of our involvement was to create a form of development that made stronger connections with the town and the river, with a modulation of building heights to visually frame the spire of the Grade 1 Listed St George’s Church. This task involved detailed modelling of existing built form and using verified visualisations (from land and river) to test and refine the proposed building massing. In addition, our creative interpretation of the rich history of the town and its relationship with the River Thames in a new public realm including new urban squares and a riverside park, was a central theme in members support of the application.