Many of the schemes we have become involved with grew out of an overall urban master-plan commissioned by the Cities involved as part of their Structure Planning or Zoning. Our role is usually to take over at an area masterplan, focussing on the central commercial mixed use area. Even with this common thread, our role in the master-planning process has taken a variety of forms. The unifying theme of our work is that it doesn't deal only with broad concepts as specialist urban designers do. We deal mainly with realisable schemes which are part of a larger whole, often building on the existing urban fabric but sometimes creating the core development for entirely new settlements. We use a variety of tools to analyse each situation, often working alongside development agents, urban designers, planning consultants, and specialist analysts.
It is important that any major new intervention into the urban fabric of a city contains a rich, layered and varied mix of uses. Cities and towns thrive on diversity - rather than a single-use zones, which will often result in deserted areas in the evening. However, on the larger scale, it is often retail-led development that acts as a catalyst to regenerate towns and city centres, transforming them into desirable places to live, shop, meet, eat, stay, relax and work.
In successful cities we take these things for granted but in falling or failing towns it takes a particular sensibility to re-generate urban centres and to allow them to thrive. Add Architects have true sector knowledge in the key mixed- use disciplines of master-planning, retail, leisure, hotels and offices, which are required to fulfil this vision of urban living. The task is to combine understanding of how to maximize the value of each part of the development with the end-users need for an emotional attachment to the spaces and places created.
In the current economic climate it is also vital to control the mix of uses, lot size, divisibility, and phasability in order to allow the project to happen in a profitable way from the outset. Too many master-plans only look as the end vision which don't have a viable starting point and are very weak when you look at each use at the detailed level. At Add we build in commercially-viable sub-sets and a realistic growth pattern into the DNA of the masterplan so that it makes sense as a stand-alone development at every stage and doesn't rely on future phases for profitability and success.