Chester PDC: 9 Cathedral gardens design challenge


Suntrap. Illustrating a few design principles, Strategic placement of elements allows them to function together as a system. Hedge to deflect cold night air and winds whilst maximising harvest of warm sun. A defined environment provides, security and integrity whilst meeting key design objectives.

Suntrap. Illustrating a few design principles, Strategic placement of elements allows them to function together as a system. Hedge to deflect cold night air and winds whilst maximising harvest of warm sun as it is open to south. A defined environment provides, security and integrity whilst meeting key design objectives.

We begin our design challenge in our 9th session with a walk around the site to the Retreat house garden and also underneath the city walls to the falconry garden. The first is an enclosed private space, more for staff than visitors which provides the course team with a wonderful opportunity to extend permaculture ideas into a defined and intimate space.

The second area is a much more public, in site of the walls and public access and the site for many school and other educational visits who come to see the falcons fly there. There is an edge strip of maybe 50 metres, adjacent to the city walls where we can apply our permaculture vision, although understanding the complexities, limitations and high profile nature of this space is going to be quite a challenge for the design team.

  • Participants are advised to take time to prepare questions to direct at the client team as we will be meeting them at the outset of next week’s session.
  • Questions should be directed at revealing the functions of the design and their relative priority and importance.
  • Second key are is understanding the limitations, this is an historic site with many considerations about access, safety, visual impact, maintenance, budget and more.
  • Key assets also to be revealed might relate to the many members, supporters, volunteers whose potential interest and involvement will be the key to success of the design
  • This is after all Chester Cathedral, iconic, historic, newsworthy and noteworthy. We should be able to create a lot of interest and potential media coverage if we can pitch a set of ideas that ignites the collective imagination but is not too challenging for this, the most conservative of environments.

Presentation: in approaching design it is important to remember that in the natural world form always follows function. We must keep referring back to the intended goals and outcomes and avoid becoming distracted by aesthetics our own personal preferences.

There are many design approaches – all equally valid, some more appropriate to some situations than others. In my PDC’s I always refer people to the SADIMET model, introduced to me by Chris Evans, as this is a great model to begin with as it takes the designer through a  structured and sequential process that leads to a thoughtful and holistic design. It is a great start point and gives the practitioner a base line to compare other experiences to.

Design Presentation PDF.

I covered as far as principle 10 and we will pick up from there next week.

Design teams: This is not a competition, collaboration and synergy are encouraged but each team should focus their attention on one of the design areas.

  • Retreat Garden: Claire, Janet, John, Jim, Steph, Luke
  • Falconry Garden: Ian, Karen, Scott, Rob, Gail, Jack

If anyone has a strong preference to change teams let me know right away, it is fairly arbitrary but I try to get a balance of people and skills as best I can.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

68 + = 70