Frideswide Square, Oxford
Frideswide Square is a £5.8m transformation of one of the most important gateway sites into Oxford and is also home to one of Europe’s most prestigious business schools.
The most challenging aspect of this project was to create a welcoming and attractive urban environment in an extremely busy space which carries 62,500 users per day and is the foreground to the City’s main railway connection.
The Urbanists had considerable input into the evolution of the design concept from the outset of the project to completion on site.
The design of the square is based on “shared space” which largely removes the segregation of pedestrians and vehicles. This is done by removing features such as multiple lanes of traffic, traffic lights, and introducing low kerbs and courtesy crossing points.
We worked alongside the County Council’s highways and transportation officers as well as Heads of Service, Directors and Members to devise transformational yet deliverable solutions. We spent time studying other spaces of similar scale, researching the technical solutions that have been applied to other heavily trafficked urban spaces and have considered in detail the existing character of Oxford itself. We also spent time with the contractor, Skanska to fine tune the designs. This meant that the project was delivered on time, and on budget.
Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Ian Hudspeth said: “We’ve now got a great public space that is in keeping with nearby facilities like as the business school and future developments such as the revamped train station. The finished article reflects the regeneration taking place in and around Oxford and the county as a whole.”
We are already working on several other projects with similar challenges and opportunities and look forward to applying our considerable experience to other towns and cities in the UK.