ER-Insights: September 2022
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Major expansion plan for MIRA Technology Park
This month, we submitted a planning application for a major expansion of Mira Technology Park ("MTP") in the West Midlands, which is our technology park development that is part of Europe’s largest and fastest-growing automotive and mobility R&D cluster.

The proposed Southern Manufacturing Sector will unlock opportunities for an additional 2.3m sq ft of large-scale mobility, advanced manufacturing and low carbon-related facilities, and significantly increase MTP’s capacity to accommodate large-scale facilities up to 700,000 sq ft.

Read more about the MTP Southern Manufacturing Sector at React News.
Thavies Inn planning permission
In Q3, we kicked off with the go-ahead from the City of London for our landmark Midtown development, Thavies Inn House on Holborn Circus. Permission was granted for a new ten storey building that will deliver 89,000 sq ft of workspace as well as 2,000 sq ft of ground floor retail.

Our proposal also brings forward a new south-facing public park, restoring greenery to the area and creating a green oasis for workers and the public in this part of the City. The building will set a new standard for office accommodation in London, delivering next-generation, ESG-focussed workspace that we expect will quickly capture the attention of the occupier market. 

Read more about our Thavies Inn announcement at CoStar.
Five Questions For...
Stephen Richards, Partner at Gillespies

This quarter we catch up with Stephen Richards, a partner at landscape design practice Gillespies, who is working on our Thavies Inn development in London as well as the expansion of MIRA Technology Park in the Midlands.
 1. Why did you become a landscape architect?
It followed on from some rather unconventional career advice at school. Our year was asked to fill in an experimental multiple-choice questionnaire on our likes and dislikes. I really wanted to be a cameraman at the BBC but the results came back as either architect or shoe designer. In researching architecture in the school's small grey filling cabinet marked ‘careers’ (I had quickly discounted the other option), I happened upon landscape architecture in a slim pamphlet with a photograph of a moustachioed gentleman in a brown suit, tie and wellingtons standing in a remote muddy field. Clearly, I found the prospect of this life irresistible as I went on to do a vocational degree in the subject and have practised for over 33 years. I still wonder if I would have cut it as Manolo Blahnik's successor. 

2. How do you ensure landscape design considers the effects of climate change?
Since the 1960’s when Ian McHarg ran his influential ‘Man and the Environment’ course at Penn, landscape design has been addressing how settlements and other interventions we impose on the land can be designed to limit destruction, utilise local resources, conserve water and expand biodiversity. These are now widely regarded as key constituents of climate-resilient design. In recent years there has been a lot more joined-up thinking between other professions which was evidently lacking when I started out. Effective climate resilience can only be achieved through collaboration across many disciplines and a wider understanding and commitment between the client, design team and central government.

3. What is the next big trend in landscape architecture?
I think we are on the cusp of a golden age in landscape design. We know how to read natural processes in the land and work in harmony with them, and we understand how people respond and interact with nature, both so vital for our sustained future. I am also particularly excited about how the landscape is increasingly being integrated into the architecture to support the systems and functioning of a building as we have demonstrated at Thavies Inn. Be it passive cooling from shade planting, treating air pollution or improving the efficiency of photovoltaics, for me these innovations increasingly take landscape away from the ornamental and ‘nice to have’ to be an essential component of our habitable space and the long-term security of the planet. 

4. What is one building that inspires you and why? 
I am often left exhilarated by an extraordinary archaeological ruin or an interior of a vast cathedral, but for a truly memorable experience I always return to the Louisiana Art Museum in Humlebaek, Denmark. For me, it encapsulates the synthesis of architecture and landscape working as one entity. The architects Jorgen Bo and Wilhelm Wohlert working in the late 1950s camped out on the grounds for months making sketches and observing the light and views before designing the extension. The result is a series of pavilions and covered walkways that slowly take you on a journey through an unfolding coastal landscape. The experience of this place still remains exquisite, surprising and uplifting 64 years after it was completed. 

5. Where is your favourite place in London and why?
I really enjoy strolling through the City of London. I love the rich history and tradition of the built form and the references to the hidden rivers and previous uses through place names. The mediaeval street pattern is fascinating, but I do wonder what it would have been like if Sir Christopher Wren’s formal plans for the area post the Fire of London had been implemented. Gillespies has been fortunate to have worked on a number of squares and streets there and I really sense the appreciation of these greening strategies to keep the place meaningful and alive
About Town
London Event Highlights

Here are the ERI team's top picks of what's on in London in the world of art, design and enjoyment.

Park Nights 2022 - Serpentine Galleries 
until 13 Oct 2022
Each year, Park Nights presents a series of new interdisciplinary artistic performance in the Serpentine Pavilion. This year's Black Chapel, designed by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates with the support of Adjaye Associates, will feature artist and filmmaker Josiane M.H. Pozi and New York-based Standing on the Corner Art Ensemble.

 Frieze London & Frieze Masters 2022
12 - 16 October 2022 
Bringing together over 280 galleries from 42 countries, Frieze London & Frieze Masters will celebrate the creative spirit of the city. Led by Eva Langret, Frieze London will feature over 160 of the world’s leading contemporary galleries. Frieze Masters, directed by Nathan Clements-Gillespie, will feature over 120 galleries, showing work from ancient to modern.

Tate Britain: Cornelia Parker
until 16 October 2022
Cornelia Parker is one of Britain's best-loved and most acclaimed contemporary artists, who reconfigures domestic objects to question our relationship with the world. The exhibition brings together her large-scale iconic suspended works as well as her films and innovative drawings, prints and photographs.