Basing View has a fair share of greenery, bits of it are hiding on rooftops and will soon appear on bridges.
We were been told by Simon Hope from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council that the Thales Building had amazing hanging gardens. We will try to arrange a visit next time we are down there.
Part of the landscaping programme for Basing View will include making the footbrigde to Easton Park a Green Bridge like the one in Mile End Park, London.
The Mile End Green Bridge
Basing View still has to make efforts on the green front with 80% of its working force driving to the office.
We are interested in how waterways connect in Hampshire and whether or not they can link the four Urban Fallow sites. This idea was inspired by the French contemporary art festival Estuaire, whose third and last programme will take place in 2011. Temporary and permanent artworks have been commissioned around the Loire River from Nantes to the Esturary in St Nazaire. The idea is simple but efficient.
So far we have gathered the following facts:
– The River Itchen connects Winchester to Southampton via Eastleigh. Part of the connection is through a canal now being restored called Itchen Navigation. There were plans to link Basingstoke’s canal to Itchen navigation but these were never realised.
– The Eastleigh borough is bound by water namely Southampton Waters and the River Hamble.
-The river Test, Itchen and Hamble all flow into Southampton Waters. According to the Southampton Entry on Wikipedia, ‘Southampton Water is classified as a ria, or drowned valley, of the English Channel. It was formed by the rivers Test, Itchen and Hamble which flow in to it, and became an inlet of the sea at the end of the last ice age when sea levels rose, flooding many valleys in the south of England.’
– The River Anton which flows through Andover is a tributary of the River Test
On our visit to Andover on 13 January 2010, the Ford Cottage site lay empty and hoarded. The hoarding itself is in relatively good condition given it is 20 year old. It is intact apart from a small passage through which we all got in, led by Michael Johnson, Senior Arts Officer at Test Valley Borough Council.
The hoarding around the Ford Cottage site
Inside we walked through the snow-covered remains of window frames and car batteries dispersed in a thin mass of shrubs and brambles. Michael Johnson talked about the plans for the site and the vision of Arthur Freeman who clearly saw its potential as a new landmark for the town of Andover.
Michael Johnson, Senior Arts Officer, explaining the plans for the site
We were able to see for ourselves how close the site was to the town centre and The Lights and how it was at the crossing point of major pedestrian routes. However it felt like we were at the back of where the action was: all we could see was the back of waitrose and other buildings. It became clear to us how the rationale of creating a new gateway as intended by the ‘Theatre Plaza’ scheme came about.
On our first visit to Basing View, Basingstoke’s business park, in January 2010, Symon Easton, Cultural Investment Manager at Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, filled us in on to the perception of Basing View in relation to the rest of Basingstoke. He pointed out that despite its gateway location, Basing View formed a bit of an island. This was not so obvious when we visited, as the whole of Basingstoke was under a thick layer of snow. Snow confers a continuity to any landscape and, for one thing, our eyes were riveted to the ground to help our confused body balance negotiate the slippery terrain. However Symon had brought an aerial map of the area and showed us in 2-D how the road, which circles its way through the business park, enables access to the park component but also cuts it from the rest of the town. There are no interconnecting routes, it’s just the one road. There are a number of underpaths which were designed to encourage people to walk to work but the reality is that 80% of the people who work there come by car.
Basing View is also perceived as an aging office district. Basing View was created in the 1970s and was to be nick-named ‘The Dallas of Hampshire’ for its cityscape of high-rise office blocks and shiny glass façades. Today there are a few brand new buildings but a good number of its office stock is obsolete or vacant. If you like the charm of architectural retro and the aesthetic of office buildings, Basing View will most certainly appeal to you.
On reflection, Basing View does look and feel like an island with a stream of cars flowing around it, the footbridge to Eastrop Park, the River Loddon to the South, and the railway line to the North. An island, where the hustle and bustle of its creation and years as the ‘Dallas of Hampshire’ has now been replaced by the tranquil if faded quality of a conservation area. But with the AA building as a beacon visible from all parts of its park, Basing View tells us it can still stir the boat. A regeneration plan has been drawn up and is due to start in 2012. The black double A’s standing out of their yellow frame, are undoubtedly pointing upwards.
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Tagged AA building, barrier, basing view, business park, dallas of hampshire, demolition, island, Loddon River, regeneration, South Eastrop Park, subterrean pathways
Basing View's Access Road
City Wall House, judged outdated, is one of the three buildings facing demolition
Loddon House, former home of the Tax Office, is now due for demolition
Another office building at Basing View
A spark of hope: Norden House will soon be a Business Incubator
The Gas Works site lies vacant despite its prominent location
The Gas Works site reflected in this opportune mirror
One of Basing's View underpath