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Is the Quality of Urban Landscape in Cardiff Improving?

if it's about Cardiff.. Sport, Entertainment, Transportation, Business, Development Projects, Leisure, Eating, Drinking, Nightlife, Shopping, Train Spotting! etc.. then we want it here!
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moyceyyy

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Re: Is the Quality of Urban Landscape in Cardiff Improving?

PostWed Nov 29, 2017 8:17 pm

HalRobsonKanu wrote:As for Celestia, this whole development is truly atrocious. Whilst I'm not a huge fan of Scott Harbour, at least it makes some sort of attempts to engage with the waterside. Celestia on the other hand begs huge questions about what developers have been (and still are) allowed to get away with in this city. Throwing any arguments about materials, renders and the quality of the towers (all of which are hugely problematic) aside for one moment, the dead frontages, car park grills and angular form along the waterside alone are reason enough for the planners to have sent the developers packing. Celestia blights this area and has made this part of the part of the Bay dead and depressing. The architects should frankly never work again.


I dont see a problem with Celestia :(

then again its not particularly eye-catching either
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Lewisbeecham

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Re: Is the Quality of Urban Landscape in Cardiff Improving?

PostThu Nov 30, 2017 12:48 am

I used to live in Galleon Way, which I think Is one of the nicer flat developments in Cardiff, recently benefitting from a paint lift itself. I've since bought in the Schooner Wharf scheme which is being built. I hope that it ends up being just as nice!
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HalRobsonKanu

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Re: Is the Quality of Urban Landscape in Cardiff Improving?

PostThu Nov 30, 2017 10:25 am

[quote="Cardiff"]I know i have a vestige interest in Celestia as i live there but i dont see the issue with it. Its an apartment development, name me another in Cardiff that has interaction with the waterfront, none do as people dont want shop/reataurants/takeaways beneath beneath them bringing noise and smells, so i dont understand why you think there should be some here when it is a good 5 minute walk away from Mermaid Quay whichstruggles to be fully let and there are a number of empty units there let alone in the Scott Harbour development. There are issue with the render which are being tackled but it is no different from Victoria Wharf/Meridian Gate/Watermark, with the towers having nice design elements IMO. You also dont have to worry about someone partying on a balcony next to your bedroom window like Victoria Wharf, which exhibits many of your points of criticism yet is not mentioned as a poorly designed development. It also has a lovely little green space and terrace that is accessible to the public during the day and interacts well with Pierhead street which many other development in Cardiff are far far worse at (Atlantic wharf springs to mind).

This part of the bay was never going to be the social hub of the bay, its always been destined to be a quiet oasis close to the bay but not interrupted by it, no different from Atlantic Wharf yet without the loud traffic noise. As a place to live in it is a great development, its 11 years old and once the render issue has been resolved and it is freshly painted it will look much better.


Hi Stephen. Well first of all, I want to say sorry for my outspoken criticism of your home. I know that I would not take kindly to somebody speaking in such a way about my home. I'm glad that you like Celestia and that you enjoy living there, as I'm sure many others do. If any of us learn one thing through reading this forum, it is that opinions on design are subjective.

To be fair, there are some elements of the development that I do like - specifically the red brick, curved section that faces Pierhead Street, which has decent materials as well as active ground floor uses (the co-op) and some street level windows that add a bit of life to the street.

On the other hand though, I cannot help but dislike the overall development and think that something so much better could have been achieved. My specific criticisms are as follows:

1) The grey/yellow finish of the tower blocks

2) The fact that, from many angles, the tower blocks have a bit of a monollythic, slab like appearance. I don't mind tall but I prefer a more elegant form.

3) The poor finish of the wood. This might have been improved recently but last time I walked past much of the external wood was covered in green algae and looked horrendous.

4) And most of all, the complete lack of engagement with the waterside: the buildings are at an angle to the dock; the fact that the only ground level activity is an under-croft car park, seperated from the foot path by a weathered looking wooden fence. Surely by any objective standards, this is not good design?

You ask me to name you another development in Cardiff that has interaction with the waterfront? I will name you several: the buildings at the Northern end of Atlantic Wharf have ground floor office uses; the two developments on Havanna Street (one is called Sovereign Quay, I think), which have a number of ground floor uses including offices, hairdressers and a high end furniture shop; Penarth Marina, where there are ground level windows and front doors. All of these are significantly more pleasant waterside environments, in my opinion.

Besides, even if it was the case that there's nothing better in Cardiff, why should we restrict ourselves to looking at Cardiff for inspiration?

As for your comments about Victoria walk, I am not as familiar with that development. There is a reason for this, which is that it does not occupy a prime position less than 5 minutes walk from our seat of government and one of our most important cultural buildings. Surely, in such a prime position, the very highest standards should be expected?
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penarth bloke

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Re: Is the Quality of Urban Landscape in Cardiff Improving?

PostThu Nov 30, 2017 5:11 pm

I think there's a plot to surround Altolusso!!
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moyceyyy

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Re: Is the Quality of Urban Landscape in Cardiff Improving?

PostThu Nov 30, 2017 5:14 pm

penarth bloke wrote:I think there's a plot to surround Altolusso!!


I'm beginning to think that too, judging by Pauls most recent photos.

What a rubbish building that is. It's not even the materials that bother me about it (although it could do with a clean and some bigger windows) - its the chunkiness to height ratio. Its as wide as it is tall - it just looks like a blight on the skyline.
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Cardiff

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Re: Is the Quality of Urban Landscape in Cardiff Improving?

PostThu Nov 30, 2017 5:22 pm

I dont agree that any interaction at Celestias location with the waterside would be viable and hence why it was not factored into the development i suppose. The cafe next to the co-op didnt last long and and dont think the latest application will last that long either, the sizable restaurant space in Scott Harbour has not reopened since it closed and there is no rush to fill the empty space at the bottom of Glow Works either. Maybe in the future there will be a need for these facilities when Porth Teigr is developed more, but then the thin sliver of land that Celestia occupies is probably not the best spot for a cafe or restaurant. The developments you mention as having good interaction with the waterfront are also similarly struggling to get occupiers, again this may change in the future, which i especially hope for the northern end of Atlantic Wharf.

I think if you take Celestia as a development to extend the bays availability of services then i agree it does not do this, but then this skips over nearly every other part of the bay towards it which similarly doesnt do this too, eg why doesn't Atradius have better street interaction, why doesn't Adventures Quay have better street interaction etc.
As a development of apartments it does pretty well, the under croft parking is secure and the majority of apartments have at least once space that you dont need to walk out into the rain for, the apartments take advantage of the beautiful views and have a nice communal garden. There is little noise or disturbance from surroundings and despite the exterior issues with the developer, the interiors are well kept and refurbished with a more luxurious feel than a lot of apartment developments.

I really cant see why the animosity to this development, its not meant to, and never was meant to be a leisure detonation, it was meant to be an apartment development, what is it so wrong that it does not incorporate waterside interaction? I dont see how this location should warant it when there is no current demand in this area/or at least no market demand to get development going and businesses moving in.

Celestia isnt perfect by any means, but as an apartment development to live in it has a lot going for it, the bigest issue is the external appearance which is taking forever to get resolved, the recent repainting of the Waterquater shows how lovely these developments looks once painted and refreshed, and i cant wait for this to happen to Celestia (and it has a cream coloured exterior not grey ;) )

For me the biggest crimes go to Century Wharf, completely gated with no access to the riverside, no retail or amenities at all and many of the apartments have poor views and little usable outside space, it is also 5 minutes walk from Mermaid Quay, except it is the other side from Celestia.

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HalRobsonKanu

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Re: Is the Quality of Urban Landscape in Cardiff Improving?

PostFri Dec 01, 2017 12:08 pm

I acknowledge that there is definitely a financial viability issue with regards to commercial ground floor uses in this location. This is, in many ways the result of a failure to properly masterplan the wider capital waterside area. Had CBDC and (latterly) the council focussed on developing the core area of Cardiff Bay – starting with the Inner Harbour and moving outwards (in line with the original masterplan from the late 80s) rather than the scattergun approach that we have seen, a significantly higher density of development could have been achieved in the area around Celestia, which would have brought higher footfall and opened the door to more commercial activity. Hopefully this could yet be achieved, but it will take many years to realise.

The over concentration of restaurants and bars within the small area occupied by Mermaid Quay and the reluctance of the public to stray too far away that area, has also acted to stymie the spread of commercial activity across a wider area. See also the lack of activity in Bute Street and Mount Stuart Square.

Your argument effectively seems to be that Celestia is a private residential development and that passers-by are not to be encouraged or particularly welcomed in the public space that immediately abuts it. This is, indeed, the exact message that the waterside architecture gives to anyone curious enough to consider visiting. I consider that unacceptable in any sort of streetscape but particularly so in a location that could/should be attractive and is such a short walk from one of the citys administrative, cultural and tourist hubs.

Furthermore, as per the example of Penarth Marina in my previous post, it is not even necessary to have commercial operations at street level to successfully engage with the waterfront. Just some doors, windows, steps etc would have helped massively. Parts of Scott Harbour are notably more successful in achieving this than Celestia is.

You also mention Atradius – well that also engages more successfully with the waterfront (even though it is significantly more offset than Celestia is) with a main entrance, ramp, steps, interesting architectural features and high quality building materials. In terms of architecture and urban design it is frankly on a different level to Celestia.

I certainly agree with you though that Century Wharf is truly terrible!
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Ash

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Re: Is the Quality of Urban Landscape in Cardiff Improving?

PostFri Dec 01, 2017 4:08 pm

HalRobsonKanu wrote:The over concentration of restaurants and bars within the small area occupied by Mermaid Quay and the reluctance of the public to stray too far away that area, has also acted to stymie the spread of commercial activity across a wider area. See also the lack of activity in Bute Street and Mount Stuart Square.


That's a fair criticism but things are gradually improving. Outside Mermaid Quay there's now Natas, Sunflower, Mischiefs, Irie Shack, Octavo, The Deck, Espresso Lab, Fusion Coffee, Coffee Co and a few others. It's taken longer than it should have though, hopefully the fact the Exchange is being brought back into use should speed things up a bit.
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Lewisbeecham

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Re: Is the Quality of Urban Landscape in Cardiff Improving?

PostFri Dec 01, 2017 4:19 pm

Ash wrote:
HalRobsonKanu wrote:The over concentration of restaurants and bars within the small area occupied by Mermaid Quay and the reluctance of the public to stray too far away that area, has also acted to stymie the spread of commercial activity across a wider area. See also the lack of activity in Bute Street and Mount Stuart Square.


That's a fair criticism but things are gradually improving. Outside Mermaid Quay there's now Natas, Sunflower, Mischiefs, Irie Shack, Octavo, The Deck, Espresso Lab, Fusion Coffee, Coffee Co and a few others. It's taken longer than it should have though, hopefully the fact the Exchange is being brought back into use should speed things up a bit.


If the new Arena is situated on Red Dragon / County Hall this will speed things up X10. I really do hope it gets built down there, it's just what the area needs.
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HalRobsonKanu

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Re: Is the Quality of Urban Landscape in Cardiff Improving?

PostFri Dec 01, 2017 11:06 pm

I totally agree, Lewis and Ash.
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