We are hugely proud to announce that our recently completed ‘Command of the Heights’ project, at Fort Amherst in Chatham, has been shortlisted for an ‘Excellence in Heritage and Culture‘ Award, by the Landscape Institute.
The ambition for the ‘Command of the Heights’ project was to restore and enhance Fort Amherst, as a space of historic significance, with a strong vision for the future, and to inject new lifeblood into the area, by engaging people from all walks of life to help shape the future of the site. To fully comprehend this site and understand what this place means – for the past, present and the future, and what it means for people and the environment, was crucial.
Fort Amherst is steeped in Napoleonic military and Dickensian history. It is embedded in the fabric of the site which was originally designed and built to keep people out. It is built on a steep hill-side with precipitous embankments, high revetments, and guarded entrances. There are draw-bridges designed to completely cut the site off and to prevent entry. All barriers to people entering, hence the names ‘Barrier Road and Barrier Ditch…’
Our brief was to open up these barriers and make the site accessible and usable again, but to do so with sensitivity, and recognition of the importance of heritage. And at the same time acknowledging that without a breath of new life, this place would fall further into disrepair. Our job was to get people in – not only to enter the site but to enrich the lives of all visitors and engage new users in the space.
Peter Kendall from Historic England said: “Historic England valued the partnership working by all the participants and the creative solutions found by the designers, particularly when archaeological investigations constantly revealed new challenges. Command Of The Heights demonstrates that scheduled monuments can be re-used in imaginative ways to make them relevant to the public so as to help ensure that they will be cared for in future. The conversion of the courtyard casemates to an outdoor performance space is an inspired transformation which still allows the military architecture to be understood.”
Mei Loci were pleased to work for a fantastic team at Medway Council and Fort Amherst Heritage Trust. And alongside our excellent design and construction team: PDP Green Consulting; CGB ConsuIting; Wessex Archaeology; Moreton Hayward; Heather Burrell; Studio Unfold; & Coleman & James Contractors. Thank you to Simon Kelsey at Praxis for the photos.
Find out more here