Reflecting Irvine’s past into a bright future

Reflecting Irvine's past into a bright future

Austin-Smith:Lord’s redesign of Bridgegate in Irvine, Ayrshire was officially unveiled on the 29th November 2013. This marks the completion of a £2.2m public realm project to transform the town centre following a design competition in 2010.

Over the last 18 months the historic heart of the former New Town has been completely rejuvenated, with natural stone public realm, artworks and streetscape improvements being part of a wider £10m regeneration programme by Irvine Bay Regeneration Company and North Ayrshire Council.

Austin-Smith:Lord worked closely with artists WAVE and lighting specialists dpa to incorporate public art and feature lighting into the redesign of Bridgegate. Land Engineering were main contractors, O’Connor Sutton Cronin were engineers and Neilson Partnership were cost consultants.

The project features the 9m high Trinity Mirror sculpture that reflects the stunning neo-Gothic Trinity Church and reveals inscriptions on an anamorphic projection around its base. This artwork, coupled with a timeline, reveal aspects of the town’s long, interesting history and its identity developed in discussion with the townsfolk.

Former Trinity Church bells, landform artworks and programmed feature lighting further enrich the experience and setting of the Bridgegate. The space is highly flexible and has immediately hosted farmers and Christmas markets, drawing people to the town centre.

Siobhan Vernon, Austin-Smith:Lord’s lead landscape architect on the project said:

‘We’re delighted at the very positive response to our design for Bridgegate.

“The completed scheme is faithful to our original concepts in the design competition. It redefines Bridgegate as an urban piazza, opening up connections to the landmark Trinity Church and bringing together the new and historic aspects of Irvine town centre.

“The integration of public art and feature lighting into the new streetscape enriches the space and celebrates the town.

“The project has been enhanced through collaboration between the local community, the project partners, design team and artists. The quality of the workmanship is befitting such an important project and a credit to the contractors.”

Local MSP and Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess carried out the official launch of the project which is expected to bring a boost to the economy, attracting new retailers and increasing footfall to the area. Margaret Burgess, MSP said:

“I am delighted to see the successful completion of this outstanding project. Local people have been directly involved in the transformation, commenting on ideas and helping to shape the public art which is a central element of the refurbishment. Their involvement is core to the success of this regeneration project, which is about providing new opportunities for local people.”