Landscape design helps transform heritage amusement park ahead of its reopening
26 May 2017 – Global infrastructure services firm AECOM has created striking new landscaping for the redevelopment of Dreamland, a historic amusement park in Margate that originally opened in the 1870s. The park, which reopens this week following a major renovation programme, brings together sensitively restored vintage rides and an array of modern facilities, including a 15,000-capacity open air venue for music events.
AECOM’s landscape design for the 3.5 hectare site has transformed the park’s previous vast, open and hard spaces by introducing heavy planting to create a lush, green and intimate setting for the site’s collection of vintage rides. In addition, new open parkland as part of the site’s extension provides an eye-catching setting for the main stage area. With direct views of the park from Margate’s High Street, connecting visually with the town was a key component of the design and the landscaping.
More than 1,000 trees and 60,000 shrubs appropriate for the park’s seaside location have been installed. The selected species will thrive in the park’s coastal microclimate and will mature over time to bring a range of ecological benefits to the park and its surrounding landscape. A new elevated promenade will give everyone the opportunity to admire the antique menagerie cages from the 1800s, capturing part of the site’s unique history, and will enable visitors to access to new exclusive VIP areas and the re-instated monumental letters of Dreamland.
Key features of AECOM’s design also include a new 1.5 Ha public park extension that incorporates a 15,000 person capacity events area, the creation of a public amphitheatre and central food court plaza overlooking the new Scenic Stage, as well as the re-surfacing of the main concourse and rides area.
In addition to landscape design, AECOM delivered a range of engineering, cost management, lighting and wayfinding services for the redevelopment scheme. The company worked with sub-consultant Space Agency Design to develop comprehensive wayfinding that reflects the unique branding and graphics of Dreamland. This included creating Hollywood style lettering spelling out Dreamland around the park. AECOM also worked with sub-consultant Light Bureau to create a bespoke lighting scheme for the site. Lighting will play a significant role in creating an enchanting, festival-like ambience for Dreamland’s eclectic programme of evening events.
Nick Askew, Senior Director – Landscape and Masterplanning, AECOM, said: “Dreamland is reinventing Margate’s Great British seaside heritage, creating a unique experience for visitors that will combine the magic of the funfair with festivals and open-air events. AECOM has worked closely with Dreamland to deliver a range of engineering and landscaping services that are helping to create a striking setting that connects visually with the town. Taking inspiration from historic amusement parks like Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens and adding new features fit for present-day festivals, the landscaping will restore the park to its former glory to deliver a sustainable legacy for Margate.”
Dreamland reopens to the public on 26 May. As well as an array of vintage rides, including a 1920s Grade II-listed wooden roller-coaster, the park’s redevelopment includes a number of venues for live events, art installations, street food and a retro Roller Disco.
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