The Riverside Development
Ambitious plans to transform a neglected part of Ayr's historic town centre into a thriving new public realm are currently being developed by South Ayrshire Council.
A masterplan, commissioned by Ayr Renaissance, was approved in February 2017 to regenerate land between the medieval "Auld Brig" and the Victorian "New Bridge". The first phase of the plan included the demolition of the massive retail stores which had blocked access to the river since the 1960s, and the work to clear the site was completed in 2017.
The masterplan sets out a vision for a mixed use development including quality office accommodation and housing, as well as space for niche retail units, cafes, restaurants and spaces for public events.
The anchor development in the wider plan is South Ayrshire Council’s new Riverside Office, with capacity for 350 workers. Morgan Sindall have been appointed as the project's Tier 1 contractor, while architects Keppie Design have been appointed as design consultants.
The proposals set out a commitment to top quality design including the use of materials that complement the existing historic buildings and to an overall scale that respects the surrounding conservation area with key points being considered including:
- Building scale: The building scale is reduced at key points to marry in with the scale of adjacent buildings on the High Street and river. A feature open space is constructed at the distinct building corner between the High Street and River Square to address the change in height between 3 and 4 storeys. A feature has also been added at Ground Floor level on River Square in the form of a colonnade, with the archways paying homage to the Auld Brig behind.
- Building style: Many of the buildings in and around Ayr High Street are a mix of visible floor edges and parapets, and constructed vertically in an orderly manner. The floor edges on the office block align with adjacent buildings to continue the style popular in the Town Centre.
- Building materials: In and around the site, a wide variety of tones and materials exist, the majority of which are blonde and red sandstone, together with the lighter finish of white render and glazed bricks. The proposed materials for the building, piers and floor edges reflect and respond to these adjacent buildings, with the brick palate in particular matching with the recently refurbished A-Listed buildings at 1 - 3 New Bridge Street.
The new offices are complimented by an enhanced public realm which will create a series of flexible spaces for leisure activities. These spaces will be enriched by the use of high-quality furniture such as natural stone seating, sculptural lighting and bespoke feature screens.
An application was submitted to Planning Services for the new Riverside Development in January 2018.