Northern England’s post-industrial port city of Sunderland will soon welcome a major riverside regeneration as part of an eco-friendly masterplan designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects and Proctor & Matthews Architects. Developed for Sunderland City Council and developers Igloo Regeneration, the urban revitalization project will transform a 33.2-hectare site on both sides of the River Wear into the country’s first carbon-neutral urban quarter. 

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Designed to “reinvent the heart of Sunderland,” the masterplan design will include 1,000 new energy-efficient homes in four mixed-use residential neighborhoods for a population of 2,500. Each neighborhood will have a distinctive character and feature a mix of three housing types inspired by local and regional antecedents, from the iconic Sunderland cottage to the Wearside maisonettes. The masterplan also includes 1 million square feet of office space in a new central business district that’s expected to provide up to 10,000 new jobs.

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The five urban districts — Vaux, Sheepfolds, Farringdon Row, Heart of the City and Ayre’s Quay — will be connected by a new Riverside Park that will be the main focal point of the development and account for approximately half of the project’s total site area. St. Mary’s Boulevard will also be upgraded to better connect the riverside to the city through the park, while new bridges will strengthen connections between the communities on both sides of the river. Cultural highlights will include the Culture House, a state-of-the-art library and community hub, as well as a new arts center, by Flanagan Lawrence, to be housed within a renovated 1907 fire station.

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rendering of balloon animal sculpture outside of brick Culture House community building

“The masterplan aims to maximise the drama of ‘living on the edge’, with views of the river, the gorge and abundant green space,” the architects explained. “The restoration and re-invention of a built edge on the cliff tops overlooking the river will create a signature silhouette for the city.” Renewables and smart energy networks will be promoted throughout the masterplan to help achieve the project’s carbon-neutral status.

+ FaulknerBrowns Architects

Images via FaulknerBrowns Architects

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