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Our place at CodeBase

03/09/2020

RaeburnFarquharBowen's studio re-located in early 2020 - which we never quite got the chance to fully celebrate or publicise! So now that we’re beginning to think about how we might get back to our much loved studio space, we thought it might be a good time to share a little bit more about where we are - and in particular, why we’re there.

Our studio is now happily nestled within CodeBase technology hub in Stirling - which is within the beautiful old municipal building on Corn Exchange Road. Full of light and character, it's the perfect space to foster our creative thinking.

CodeBase itself is “the UK’s largest technology incubator” - and aims to create a technology eco-system, clustering a variety of technologically progressive companies together in order to form a community where a much wider range of experience and skills can be shared. (Along with a few morning pastries or evening beers on occasion!)

Our unique position as a landscape practice within this growing Codebase community reflects our progressive approach to the technological aspects of our work - as we continually drive the constant evolution of our workflows to push the boundaries of our practice.

A recent example of how we do this can be seen in our approach to our Inner Forth Wanderings & Windings project, which covered over 200km2. For this project, we created 9 new day-long walking and cycling heritage trails, co-designed with local communities. We mapped these in person, by GPS... on bike! And then easily incorporated the routes into published route guides; by combining technology from a popular cycle tracking app, with our GIS software and geo-referenced CAD software.

Our landscape focussed CAD software also enables us to easily translate tree surveys (provided by a qualified arboriculturalist,) into information we can better explore and interrogate. We can now quickly visualise and analyse tree survey data (typically provided to us in a spreadsheet,) as a 3D information model reflective of surveyed heights, canopy sizes, spreads, species and condition; and we’ve made use of this particularly on our current work at Castlemilk to advocate for the importance of tree retention, which has really informed the direction of this particular project.

While we share our sketches and photographs on social media often - it’s easy to forget how much information and technical data is involved in both informing and implementing the projects we work on. This is particularly true of the large SuDs pond featured in the park which forms the centrepiece of a new 3000 home settlement at our Bertha Park project, which was modelled in 3D to check water volumes and provide accurate setting out of levels for construction. We were delighted to receive a Susdrain award for this recently for outstanding, innovative and high quality new build large scale SuDs.

Lastly, and perhaps most significantly over recent months, we’ve really had to embrace different aspects of technology as part of community consultation, in the absence of any public gatherings or face to face meetings! At Woodside Making Places, the £4M green infrastructure retrofit project we’re currently working on in Glasgow, we created a bespoke project website to enable the first phase of consultation. We are now looking to incorporate a new online tool for the next phase, which will allow us to integrate our geo-referenced design plans with an online mapping and location based commenting facility.

Our keen approach to embracing new technology and cutting edge software developments to benefit our practice is recognised and valued by those we work with, and is reflected in our recent invitation to present some of our work at Vectorworks Global Virtual Design Day. We’re one of only two landscape practices who have been invited to present at this global event, (we’re speaking alongside Canadian practice PWL Partnership,) - and you can register for free to attend the event here.

CodeBase Stirling: our new studio space

Existing trees categorised by condition

Accurately modelled existing tree heights and canopies

Existing trees on site are critical to character

Large redwood on site at Castlemilk

Route planning the Inner Forth

We mapped routes by bike - using GPS!

Route-mapping by bike with GPS allowed us to check the routes in person while drawing them out

Technical drawings & model required to construct Bertha Park SuDs

Bertha Park SuDs pond under construction

Susdrain award winning Bertha Park complete