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Market place redesign featuring motif ‘carpet’ and ‘baroque’ fountain

We were recently short-listed to the second stage of an open design competition for the refurbishment of the Cornhill, the historic market place of Ipswich. The project aims to reassert the Cornhill as the focus for civic, cultural and commercial life in the town, making it a destination in its own right and serving as a catalyst for the revitalisation of the historic retail core.

We proposed a simple and pragmatic layout to unify the area into a single, flexible and uncluttered space that would allow the existing surrounding architecture to provide the visual interest key to creating a successful public space. This would be paved in a unifying ‘carpet’, with a pattern of emblems and insignia inspired by the architecture of the surrounding buildings, the history of the Cornhill and the town’s agricultural and maritime history.

We have proposed a strong central feature, located at the crossing of the two key routes through the space. The new fountain with its complex and beautiful geometric form is inspired by the traditional ‘corn dolly’. It will act as a focal point for the space, and provide the necessary ‘baroque’ flair to what is essentially a very simple scheme. The low, cascading steps and jets of water will provide the spectacle whilst the surrounding seating will create opportunities to sit and enjoy the activity. Additional seating and planting is provided at the perimeter of the space, whilst a series of lighting masts sign-post visitors to the vibrant waterfront and allude to the maritime history of the town.

The Cornhill
Market place refurbishment scheme
for Ipswich Borough Council
Ipswich, Suffolk
Value: £3M
Competition shortlist, 2013