We have received a 2023 National Urban Design Award for Riverside Sunderland in the Frameworks and Large Masterplans category. The winning projects have been selected by a panel of 29 expert judges drawn from across the built environment sector, using criteria based on latest best practice guidance and environmental targets.
The masterplan for Riverside Sunderland will reinvent the heart of the city, inspired by its industrial heritage and unique topography. The masterplan proposes the regeneration of a 33.2 hectare site on both sides of the River Wear, creating a low carbon urban quarter, building 1,000 new homes with social infrastructure for a population of 2,500 and creating workplaces for up to 10,000 people.
A new Riverside Park accounts for just under half of the total site area, connecting the community with nature, promoting healthy lifestyles and ultimately connecting Silksworth in the south to the Northumberland coastline at Roker in the east. The reconfigured St Mary’s Boulevard will directly reconnect the park to the city and new pedestrian bridges will connect communities on both banks of the river for the first time in the city’s history. The newly configured park and low-level bridge will help to connect the University of Sunderland City Campus with the University of Sunderland Sir Tim Cowie campus on the north bank of the river.
The masterplan is divided into five urban quarters, four mixed-use residential and a new Business District which will form a transition between the historic city centre and the new mixed-use residential quarters, re-establishing it as a successful and dynamic business location.
A key aspiration of the vision was to create a masterplan that is locally distinctive and delivers a strong sense of place. The dramatic setting of the river gorge, extraordinary topography, history and cultural resonance of the site provided a starting point for delivering this. The masterplan aims to re-imagine Sunderland’s historic industrial skyline by creating a bold new silhouette and community “living on the edge”, with views of the river, the gorge and abundant green space. Three exemplar house types inspired by historic local precedents have been developed. Homes support SCC’s ambitious plan to become carbon-neutral by promoting the use of renewables, smart energy networks and utilising MMC. The creation of a new CBD was also key to the masterplan vision. The CBD will provide more than 1 million square feet of office space and accommodation for 8,000 - 10,000 jobs, generating footfall and expenditure across the city centre and attracting inward investment. Sunderland’s cultural offer has been transformed in recent years and the masterplan will include two new flagship attractions - The Culture House - a vibrant multi-purpose building/library and a new arts centre. The Vaux site is located in the southern escarpment edge of the River Wear gorge. This will provide 100% private rental accommodation for the city council, encouraging new residents to live in this city centre location and providing a boost to the local economy.
The Riverside Sunderland Masterplan is focussed on revitalising the heart of the city and mobilising investment on an unprecedented scale. The city’s historic industrial heart will be reinvented as an extraordinary place to live in the 21st Century, a dynamic business location, and a vibrant focus for community life, leisure and culture. 1,000 new energy efficient homes across four distinctive neighbourhoods will double the city centre population and create a vibrant new community. Vaux, the site of the 2023 Future Living Expo, will promote advanced, low carbon, smart homes that enhance nature and promote wellbeing and community. The dramatic landscape will be celebrated by creating beautiful parks and open spaces, with new river crossings for walkers and cyclists.
Proctor and Matthews worked in collaboration with FaulknerBrowns Architects, with specialist input from MawsonKerr Architects on the project for Sunderland City Council and their development partner Igloo Regeneration.