Cathedral Green

In 2007, Stephen led Ramboll's competition winning team to develop Derby’s Cathedral Green as a safe, multi-functional, public space from what was a harsh, un-loved, sometimes dangerous, environment. Work focused on the provision of a new landmark pedestrian and cycle bridge to unlock the site and connect to new housing and office development north of the river.

In Derby, the fast-flowing waters of the River Derwent mean a flooding event could have a devastating effect. Rising waters during a severe flood might spill over existing river defences along the River Derwent and dangerously impact on the Lower Derwent Valley, putting 3,600 properties at risk.

Cathedral Green’s Masterplan was a key step in safeguarding thousands of people and properties along the river banks, from Darley Abbey Mills in the north, to Derby Junction Railway Bridge in the south.

The Green is defined on three of its sides by the historic Cathedral, the Silk Mill, a world heritage site for its role in industrialised fabric manufacturing and the riverside, the site of a proposed cycle and pedestrian bridge.

The tall, needle-like mast of the new bridge creates a visual dialogue with the spire of the Cathedral and tower of the Silk Mill and marks the pivot point of a unique cable stayed swing bridge. The bridge is kinked in plan so that when it opens the deck folds into the riverside and continues in use as a riverside walkway and cycle path.

The Green itself was transformed by pedestrian routes feeding through from the new ‘Cathedral Quarter, with grassed terraces leading down to the river, forming a natural amphitheatre with the bridge as its focus.

Stephen helped commission a public artist to interpret the historic Mill Race stream that once helped power the Mill’s machinery. The result, ‘Cascade’, an integrated light and stone ground-based artwork, by Nayan Kulkarni, occupies the footprint of the former mill race and takes its inspiration from video footage of fast-moving ripples of water.

Today, Cathedral Green is a thriving purpose-built performance space with built in seating and grassy areas and considered ‘an oasis of green within the City Centre’.

It has proved to be hugely successful as a public space and a popular location for outdoor theatre, family events, and live performances, notably as a centrepiece for Derby Festé, a yearly arts and food festival.


Derby City Council

Design Stages
2007 - 2010
Competition through to Completion

British Construction Industry Awards 2009 - Winner.
Britain's Top Public Architecture Project 2009 - Shortlisted
Structural Steel Design Awards 2010 - Commendation.