As architects, we are constantly striving to create buildings and spaces that contribute to the unique character of the places where they are located. That’s why we were particularly interested in the recent (2021) review ST HELIER URBAN CHARACTER APPRAISAL conducted by the consultancy firm WMUD.
The St Helier Urban Character Appraisal highlights the many valuable places, settings, and contexts throughout the island and how best to manage development of buildings and urban spaces that might affect them, in order to protect their special character. The review also provides a set of recommendations for managing development in the town in a way that protects and enhances its unique character.
At Socrates Architects, we have been experimenting with building typologies, reimagining our architectural styles and ideas of public spaces that can add to the character of St Helier, and we have used St Helier’s Waterfront & Harbour as a blank canvas for our experimental design research. Our iterative study involves creating sketch designs that are sympathetic to the character of the town, whilst also pushing the boundaries of what is possible in terms of sustainable and innovative design.
We believe that the recommendations provided in the WMUD review are a valuable guide for architects and developers working in St Helier. By following these recommendations and adopting a ‘layered’ approach to planning that recognizes the different layers of St Helier’s urban character, we can create buildings and spaces that contribute to the unique character of the town.
We would welcome any feedback on our approach and would be happy to discuss our work in more detail with anyone who is interested in contributing to the future of St Helier’s built environment. Together, we can create a town that is both vibrant and sustainable, and that reflects the unique character of this special place.