Unusual Architecture + [park]

Knowsley, Merseyside, Regno Unito: [CRONTON COLLIERY BY HASSELL]
Cronton Colliery by Hassell

HASSELL was one of four finalists shortlisted in the Royal Institute of British Architects competition to design a new visitor destination on a disused coal mine – the former Cronton Colliery at Knowsley near Manchester.

Cronton Colliery by Hassell

The four were shortlisted from 50 designers who submitted proposals for the site. The RIBA and the Land Trust, which will operate the site, announced HASSELL as one of the runners-up in the competition in April 2012. The HASSELL vision for the site is for a world class, sustainable park. At its heart is a new community and new connections to the surrounding countryside and its communities.

Cronton Colliery by Hassell

The park would be a vibrant place for current and future generations to enjoy - engaging the community and visitors in activities that reinforce the significance of the place while showing how natural and urban areas can co-exist in a positive and sustainable way. The Colliery site is a landscape of subtle contrasts, characterised by a beautiful palette of colours and textures. With each change of season, the grasslands and Birch backdrop colour palette shifts ever so subtly. It is from this aspect of the site that the materiality of the buildings and proposal are drawn.

Cronton Colliery by Hassell

The master plan for Cronton recognised the extensive land remediation and revegetation works that have been carried out over many years. The existing site vegetation and its associated wildlife habitat would be preserved, protected and enhanced. The proposal also sought to revitalise the Cronton Colliery site through a phased introduction of proven community amenities overlaid with a new managed activities program.

Cronton Colliery by Hassell

Allotments and a new community centre would draw community members to the site. This would occur together with more commercial opportunities including sustainable housing and eco-tourism in the form of an ecologically designed hotel, conference centre, spa and restaurant that draws on the produce of the surrounding countryside.

Cronton Colliery by Hassell

In parallel, a visitor centre would link to the history of the site and provide opportunities for education, as well as opportunities for flexible commercial space. As a result, members of the community and visitors would use the site daily, rather than simply 'passing through'. This would foster a stewardship of the site.