Rochester Riverside  

Screenshot 2019 02 08 16.24.41

** WINNER OF WINNERS - Housing Design Awards, 2020

Recreating rich layers of industrial and environmental history as a celebration of place

Clients: Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd and The Hyde Group

In partnership with bptw and LUC

Artists: Katayoun Dowlatshahi and Christopher Tipping

FrancisKnight produced the public art strategy for Rochester Riverside development, which formed part of the planning submission for the £400 million development for Rochester Riverside. They are now delivering the strategy and managing the commissions for Phase 1, 2, 3 and 7.  FrancisKnight works in partnership with the design teams to enable the artist commissions to be fully integrated and embedded within the public realm.

The development adjoins Rochester's historic town centre and the railway station, and will consist of up to 1,400 homes, of which 25% will be affordable housing, transforming the 74-acre (30 hectare) site by providing a new primary school, nursery, hotel, bar and restaurant, gym, healthcare facilities, office space and a number of retail units, together with 10 acres of open space including a 2.5km riverside walk. 

Artist Katayoun Dowlatshahi is appointed to work with the landscape architects LUC on a landscape and furniture commission.  

Katayoun creates work for public and private commissions and specialises in photography, drawing, architectural glass and time-based media.  She has successfully integrated contemporary art into a variety of landscapes, public spaces, regeneration projects and urban environments.  Her practice is rooted in printmaking in the broadest sense.  She has developed an interdisciplinary approach to her work: context and site specificity are always integral and are also motivating factors when researching commissions.  Photography is a constant in her work, often deconstructed and combined with other materials to produce fascinatng results.

The landscape and furniture commission looks at contributing and exploring alternative uses of scheme elements from hard landscaping to street furniture. Inspired by the environmental history of the site and its current ecological credentials Katayoun's work integrates abstracted images of marshland grasses, conveying movement and light onto bespoke cast Portland Stone benches and defined walls.  These can be found in Station Square and along the River Walk.

"I have been very inspired by the notion of the "Creeks and Streets" concept first coined by the regeneration bid for Rochester Riverside.  The river is central to the Medway way of life for humans as well as all sea, air and land creatures.  The ecosystem is both a fragile and robust system that fascinates in equal measure.  This commission has been an opportunity to explore the relationship of water with land, grasslands with marsh-lands, wind and movement.  To find out about the precious ecology of the Medway and to raise awareness of its special qualities".  Katayoun Dowlatshahi.

To complement the Portland Cast Stone benches, similar grass motifs and overlapping designs feature at the breakout junctions along the River Walk.  Eleven unique images are laser engraved across the three full height oak sleepers that make up each revetment.