Wichelstowe Public Square & Footbridge
Staffordshire blue bricks, bullnose headers, bespoke tapered bullnose headers, single cants, brick slips, pistol slips, deterrent paving, tactile paving and step headers
Client - Swindon Borough Council
Landscape Architects – Bradley Murphy Design (BMD)
Engineers – Peter Brett Civil Engineers
Main Contractors – Knights Brown Construction
A new community of 4000 houses is being developed in Wichelstowe, with a public square and footbridge at its centre. Designed by Bradley Murphy Design, the square provides a public space, overlooking the Wilts and Berks Canal, for people to come together and relax. Ketley Staffordshire blue bricks are a dominant feature both on the footbridge and in the square as they suited both the character and heritage of the canalside location. Landscape architect Jason Lupton, who lead the design team for the square used Ketley bespoke tapered bullnose bricks in Staffordshire blue to create 4 large raised planters.
The bricks were specially made to the exact radius in order to create the desired curves of the planters and flush fitting bullnose timber benches have been installed at intervals to follow the curves of the bullnose bricks perfectly and give a very high quality finish to the project.
The square is accessed via an attractive footbridge, and civil architects/engineers Peter Brett worked closely with BMD continuing the Ketley Staffordshire blue brick finish. The bridge takes its inspiration from a lock gate; lying at an angle to the canal and landing onto a curved brick wall. The engineers used concrete for key parts of the wall structure, and these areas were faced with 15mm brick slips. Other parts of the wall were constructed with perforated Ketley Staffordshire blue facing bricks, with cut headers forming the curve of the round bridge landing. This combination of solid bricks with matching bricks slips and pistols allowed the designers to achieve a seamless brick finish.
A striking aesthetic of the bridge has been created by the renowned sculptor and public artist Sebastien Boyesen who designed highly decorative steel panels interspersed with orange polyeurothane resin which not only look attractive but also cast a beautiful light across the bridge when the sun is shining. Sebastien mirrored this detail onto the brickwork by creating decorative brickwork panels, using both the slips and the solid bricks. Intricate laser cut templates made out of steel, allowed him to blast away parts of the surface of the brickwork to create textured brick panels which mirror the decorative steel panels above.
This is a very well considered, high quality scheme, which will look good for many years to come. Longevity of landscape was an important factor in the selection of bricks as a key material and anti-graffiti paint applied to areas of the brickwork will keep this public space looking attractive well into the future.