Eastside City Park is the first new urban park to open in Birmingham for 130 years and plays an important part in the development of England’s second city. The project has taken over 13 years from initial idea to opening due to lengthy land acquisition processes and design refinements. Architects Patel Taylor won the honour of designing the park, following their selection through a competition and public consultation.
The park adds 2.73 hectares of green space to the city centre, extending Park Street Gardens through to Cardigan Street and taking in a former car park in front of Millennium Point. Visitors to the park can now enjoy manicured lawns and extensive paved pathways framed by carefully selected trees. Bespoke street furniture is interspersed throughout the space, while Carpinus Betulus column hedging adds a modern edge to the designs.
The park received £11.75m funding from Birmingham City Council, with land acquisition partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Our Role and Our Challenges
idverde (then known as The Landscape Group) was appointed under the Birmingham Partnership Scheme to undertake the soft landscaping works and street furniture installation in late 2011 following an extensive value engineering process and the team started work on site in January 2012.
Due to the site’s nature as a recent demolition area, soil quality was an important consideration before any soft landscaping work could begin. idverde was responsible for the ongoing testing of soil quality, and the subsequent sourcing of topsoil manufactured to specification for Eastside City Park.
The plans for the site included the exact specification of tree specimens to be used in the park, with trees sourced from Germany and selected individually for shape and size. 309 semi-mature trees were selected, with only 2-3 at a time being delivered to site in the case of the large mature feature Pines and large multi stem impact trees. idverde took responsibility for liaising with the tree supplier and coordinating the delivery of each tree with the times that the planting sites would be accessible. Careful site coordination was essential for unloading, in many instances requiring a crane to carefully position the trees on their designated planting sites.
18,000 shrubs were sourced locally to Birmingham and the idverde team monitored the progress on these shrubs on a monthly basis to ensure that the plants were grown to specification. Soft landscaping works were completed with the installation of 5,000m2 of hardwearing turf.
Castellated Yew hedging of various heights forms a focal point, planted in blocks to enhance the contemporary feel of the design.
In addition to the carefully specified planting, Eastside City Park also boasts bespoke street furniture such as timber and metal framed benches. idverde worked closely with the designer to finalise the bench designs and take them to production in time for delivery to site.
A final challenge for the team was the installation of a 35m long x 5m high metal and oak framed canopy. The components for the canopy included heavy 7m long oak beams sourced from France, which required a crane to lift them over finished works to be assembled on site.