Nicholas Pearson Associates
Paving Detail
Paving DetailSketch MovementSketch PlanExhibitionimage Transition 1PavingStreet ElementsWater feature

Projects /
Canal Walk, Swindon

Client: The New Swindon Company/ Swindon Borough Council
Working with Arup, and Walter Jack Studio

Location: Swindon, Wiltshire

Awards: CEEQUAL: The Assessment and Awards Scheme for Improving Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Public Realm (Whole Project Award)

The New Swindon Company appointed ourselves and Arup to deliver a comprehensive renewal of Canal Walk, a key pedestrian retail thoroughfare within the Swindon's town centre. The brief was to establish a new urban environment which would serve as a stimulus for Swindon's retail economy as part of its Central Area Action Plan.
We acted as lead creative designers, working with Arup, to help steer the winning bid, and undertake detailed design and tender phases to regenerate the tired 1980s public realm. Throughout the construction phase we were responsible for providing support and oversight to the contract administration team.
The design invokes the memory of the former route of the Wilts and Berks Canal, which was abandoned in 1914 and later filled in to accommodate the commercial development of Swindon. The design stripped the congested street free of visual and physical clutter and introduced a simple palette of quality natural stone paving enlivened by gently curving bands of contrasting stone which follow the natural contours of the paving and reflect the dynamics of pedestrian movement within the street. Foliage is brought back to the town centre through a series of new street trees and living green walls suspended above the street.

Working alongside public artists, the street remembers the former canal corridor through text engravings, water droplet pavement markings and a weather-responsive lighting design embedded within the paving. 

At Jubilee Square a new landmark water feature by Walter Jack Studio inspires public interaction at a key pedestrian crossroads.

The construction works were completed in March 2010.