They are streets and squares first dreamed up in an old Sheffield cutlery factory – and this summer the feet of the world will be walking through them.
Thousands of athletes and spectators from across the globe will descend on Glasgow in July for the 20th Commonwealth Games.
And many of the roads, boulevards, walkways, and public spaces which surround the venues and competitors’ village have been designed right here in the Steel City. Specifically, in a small office in Harland Works.
City landscape architects Ares, based at the John Street complex, were commissioned by regeneration company Clyde Gateway to come up with inspiring streetscapes to improve the area ahead of the games. They were given a £4.3 million budget.
“It’s been a massive thrill,” says director Ricardo Ares, of Millhouses. “I can’t think of many more rewarding jobs than transforming the public places where people spend so much of their lives, so this was a dream job.”
The improvements – currently being put in place – include a new public square outside the Scottish city’s Dalmarnock Train Station, a new walkway along the River Clyde (complete with fishing platforms), and a new cycle and pedestrian link way connecting the station to the games venues.
Several streets have been reset, resurfaced, replanted and given new lighting.
But here’s the really clever bit: all these aesthetic improvements also comes with some proper hard-nosed engineering behind them.
Dalmarnock has trouble with rainwater collecting in sewers. The new developments will prevent that happening through methods such as more absorbent planting and better river drainage.
This in turn means the area – a traditionally run- down neighbourhood – will be better placed to attract future development.
“It’s improving the area in the short term but also making it more economically attractive in the long,” says Ricardo, 42.
It’s not the first big job the company – which has a staff of nine and was set up by Ricardo with wife Ania in 20011 – has worked on.
It did landscape work for Sheffield’s new University Technical College in Shoreham Street last year and acted as consultants on a new Hathersage village square.
“We’ve been working on the Glasgow project for two years so it’s been a big job,” says Ricardo. “But we’re very proud.”
Before the games have even started, it seems this is one Sheffield firm who already deserve a gold medal.
Pinball Square Wizards
It’s not just in Glasgow that Sheffield landscape architects Ares are improving the streetscape. It’s here in their home city too.
The company is working on improvements to Pinball Square, off Brown Street. This is the first picture showing how the area will be transformed.
“It’s a bit wasted at the moment,” says Ricardo. “This will make it more vibrant.”
The changes are being funded by Hallam University.