Bowline Park / rankinfraser landscape architecture
Text description provided by the architects. La Bowline is a new active thoroughfare and elevated linear park with viewpoints that bring the disused bowling overpass and its listed swing bridge back into service. The elevated travel route eliminates a dangerous level crossing on the A814, creating a new off-road section of National Cycle Route 7 linking Glasgow with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
The completion of The Bowline marks an important step in the wider regeneration of Bowling Harbor which includes the regeneration of the railway arches and public realm around the harbour. This transformational work, undertaken in partnership with the local community, has brought new businesses, activities and economic benefits to the canal and celebrates the important role of bowling in Scotland’s industrial past, developing a new leisure destination worthy of the west door of the Forth & Clyde. Channel.
The design of the 700m long route includes several distinct character areas which match the surrounding landscape context and the three viaduct sections which span the Forth and Clyde Canal, the North Clyde railway line and the A814. The design draws inspiration from existing structures, with new steel elements inserted in key locations to reinvent the old industrial structure as a new destination and travel corridor. The access ramp and viewpoints are designed as contemporary reflections of the historic structures they stand alongside, transforming the viaduct and giving it new life for future generations.
The design of the new steel and iron elements seeks to strike a balance between respecting existing structures and reading as contemporary interventions, ensuring that the timeline of change can be understood. They bring the visitor into contact with historical elements that have been inaccessible for years, linking east to west, touching the canal towpath, the basin, the swing bridge, the arches, the road and railway bridges, while offering views of the beautiful surrounding landscape.
Material choices and detailing reflect the industrial and rugged nature of the site, with concrete, steel and iron used to create a special ‘feel’ to this location. These reflect the existing concrete and metal structures in a new, recognizable and exciting way, further emphasizing Bowling’s place on the map.
Planting further complements and accentuates the design through a combination of woodland plantings to the east and west, from which emerge the overpass and bridge structures, and colorful carpets of ground cover species capable of grow in thin soil depths on bridges. Blocks of birch trees evoke the period of dereliction which saw the self-seeding of pioneer species, as nature began to reappear on the site.
After dark, the Bowline’s lighting was designed to enhance the recently restored historic swing bridge and road bridge girder structures with integrated dynamic color changing LED lighting. Interpretation graphics and bespoke wayfinding totems have been sensitively integrated into the overall landscape design. These help with orientation while bringing to life and communicating stories about the history of the site.