IRVINE Bay Regeneration Company’s lauded public realm project to transform the centre of Kilwinning has excelled in two more major awards schemes.
The project has won the Public Realm/Landscaping category at the prestigious UK Roses Design Awards for architects and designers, and was also named as runner-up in the Investors in Education category at the Ayrshire Business Awards.
The latest plaudits follow praise earlier this year, when the regeneration of Kilwinning Main Street was awarded a Commendation in the ‘Public Realm/Landscaping’ category of the Scottish Design Awards 2011.
The project, was officially opened in October 2010, at a cost of almost £2.5 million, and was led by a design team at Austin-Smith:Lord – the company now leading on the much larger public realm project in Irvine.
As well as winning prizes for its design, the project was also praised at the Ayrshire Business Awards for its associated education project, when Art and Design pupils in Second Year at Kilwinning Academy produced a creative mural on ceramic tiles in a tunnel leading from the shops and Abbey to the car park area.
The successful delivery of the refurbished Main Street has enhanced the identity and image of the historic abbey town centre as a commercial and community destination for residents, visitors and businesses.
As well as providing a new town square, the physical environment has been significantly enhanced with new paving, seating, lighting, hard and soft landscaping, public art, upgraded CCTV systems, disabled access and the relocation of a significant memorial to create a focal point for the town.
Patrick Wiggins, chief executive of Irvine Bay, said: “We are delighted that the transformation of Kilwinning Main Street has gained further recognition as an excellent project that delivered high standards of design and workmanship.
“We are already seeing real economic benefits flow from the work, with new businesses opening, events such as the Farmers’ Market attracted, and young people who contributed through their creativity and enthusiasm also gained invaluable experience.
“We look forward to building on the successes of Kilwinning Main Street in the new project at Bridgegate in Irvine.”
Margaret McDougall MSP said: “Kilwinning has been transformed by the work carried out and it is something that the whole town got behind and continues to appreciate. It is essential that quality projects such as this continue to help us to provide a more vibrant and exciting future for the five towns.”
Elma Murray, chief executive of North Ayrshire Council, said: “This is excellent news and recognises the high standard of work which has helped to transform Kilwinning Main Street.
“It also sets a benchmark for future projects – particularly Bridgegate in Irvine. I am confident that the experience of Kilwinning town centre will help to ensure that the Irvine town centre scheme is a great success.”
Project director and landscape architect at Austin-Smith:Lord, Siobhan Vernon, explains: “Kilwinning Main Street public realm improvements was a great project for us to work on.
“We tried to reclaim the public space within the street which, although already designated as a pedestrian space, lacked a focal gathering space and an area which was completely vehicle free.
“This culminated in creating an area which acts as a little ‘town square’ which has already hosted a number of successful markets.
“The remainder of the scheme was the creation of a simple, welcoming space celebrating the compact nature of the street pattern and one of the highlights of the town – Kilwinning Abbey.”
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