Projects

Keel Square

Keel Square is a new public space and boulevard based in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, completed in 2015. Located to the north of the city centre opposite the Vaux Site, the square is part of the larger vision known as St. Mary’s Way and Vaux redevelopment. The aim is to create a new central business district which will house an exciting mix of offices, shops and cafés, hotels and residential, with an emphasis on job creation A celebration of Sunderland’s maritime and industrial heritage, the square’s name was decided by the cities residents.

Landscape Architect

Sunderland City Council In-house Design Team

Contractor

Balfour Beatty

Year

2015

Keel Square
Bespoke Sunderland bench.
Keel Square
Bespoke seat with timber laths.
Keel Square
Bespoke iroko timber and stone benches.

Keel Square was designed by Sunderland City Council in-house multidisciplinary design team. The design set out to completely transform this part of the city centre, not only to set the standard of intent for future regeneration, but to provide a space unique to Sunderland that would resonate with its community. This central civic space had to be a meeting place for friends, a location for events and festivals, somewhere for Sunderland people to be proud of and a space to welcome visitors to their city.

Keel Square
Bespoke benches.
Keel Square
Bespoke Sunderland seat.

Keel Square is a celebration of the city’s industrial heritage, to record the international significance and the colossal scale of what the people of Sunderland achieved in the history of shipbuilding. Natural stone materials such as granite, Yorkshire Gritstone and porphyry were specified to complement the surrounding sandstone buildings. Sculptural features and street furniture utilised high quality materials such as hardwood timber and bronze.

Keel Square
Bespoke iroko timber and stone bench.
Keel Square
Bespoke seating.

Seating was designed to be organic in shape to break up the formal lines found within the paving. Timber laths soften the seat for maximum comfort. Known as “Friendship Benches”, they incorporate ends that acknowledge the cities associations with Washington DC (USA), Essen (Germany) Saint Nazaire (France) and Harbin (China). The benches feature the co-ordinates of those cities from the Square, together with the distance, measured in nautical miles. The form of the benches would not look out of place on the deck of a ferry.

Keel Square
Bespoke seats.
Keel Square
Sunderland female football team.
Keel Square
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