Northern Above Bar Cultural Quarter

1 of 8
Conceptual placemaking plan
Axial masterplan
Axial masterplan by night
Townscape analysis
Northern Above Bar Square
Form and layout composition study
Northern Above Bar Square
Eight dimensions of cultural placemaking
Southampton City Council has identified an area known as Northern Above Bar as an area for a new cultural quarter in the city centre. Working with the City Council, English Heritage and using our skills in urban design, we developed a cultural masterplan to stimulate the regeneration of this area and attract cultural industries.

Working to our urban design services we reviewed the term culture and 'le quartier’ as a component of urban form and through the review of three existing cultural quarters, Sheffield Cultural Industries Quarter, Manchester Northern Quarter and Temple Bar in Dublin, we analysed placemaking theory to discover the characteristics of cultural quarters.

These characteristics were incorporated into a systematic area appraisal on the Northern Above Bar area, using an appraisal framework adjusted to draw out the specific qualities to be retained, enhanced and promoted in a quarter that would attract cultural industries. Primarily this was through our analysis of eight dimensions of cultural placemaking; spatial, morphological, contextual, visual, perceptual, social and functional dimensions of urban design.

We believe our masterplan will spark new economic activity, promote the arts in a suitable context and provide an important, lively and engaging public space.

This work led to a first phase, the design for a mixed-used scheme which included visual arts facilities for John Hansard Gallery, Art Asia, City Eye arts groups with a performance centre containing three flexible auditoria and 200 apartments.

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Masterplanning & cultural placemaking
Northern Above Bar Cultural Quarter
Northern Above Bar
Southampton, SO14 7FQ


Raven Group


RIBA Stages

Proposed use

Site history

John Lewis Partnership vacated the former Tyrell & Green Department store, demolished in 2011, and relocated to West Quay Shopping Centre. This shifted the focus of activity away from Northern Above Bar and the area fell into economic decline.

Site area


Gross internal area


Number of dwellings




Plot ratio


Construction value


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