Outline Planning submitted for a 100,000+sqm mixed used development in Gibraltar.
Devil’s Tower Road sits at a point which bridges the gap between town and the up-and-coming east side, as well as the new gateway into Gibraltar via the runway tunnel, creating a dynamic skyline and providing a first impression for visitors. Most sites in this emerging area are developed on a site-by-site basis, minimising the opportunity to create any significant public spaces and amenities. The scale of this project offers a unique opportunity to consider various sites holistically to create an engaging and vibrant space which is well designed and forward looking.
Saint Michael’s Citadel is a mixed-use development which includes a hotel and residential apartments as well as much-needed commercial, retail, and cultural facilities. From inception, it was clear that at its very core we needed to introduce a vibrant square to both fuel and feed a sustainable development and the regeneration of the Devil’s Tower Road area. This central public space would be the unique and defining factor of the project as a whole. The core and social heart of the project was established first – with a significant area left void of construction or development for public use. The hotel, commercial and residential areas then embrace and surround this space, encouraging passage through to this fundamental core element – of the Heart Space.
St Michael’s Citadel will offer a variety of amenities and facilities, increasing the current offering from an industrial Devil’s Tower Road – propelling and positively supporting the changing face of the area. The design is people-centric and pedestrian-friendly with indoor and outdoor amenities for the public to explore and enjoy.
Layered outdoor spaces will be created at the Citadel for public and leisure use. In dense cities it is often this verticality that can offer an open feel to spaces as opposed to closed-off buildings. This permeability will enhance the Devil’s Tower Road corridor and inject much-needed life and greenery.
A strong focus is to raise the bar in the Devil’s Tower Road area and create public amenities in the area. Creating a hub for cultural events feature strongly in the design objective – this was especially so considering the developer’s decades of experience in organizing and creating engaging and ambitious festivals and cultural events to include the Gibraltar World Music Festival.
The aim of the Citadel is to create an epicenter for the Devil’s Tower Road area with an “ecosystem” of uses, each sustaining the other. We believe that residential developments cannot and should not be offered in isolation or without these uses:
CENTRAL PUBLIC REALM
The quality of the outdoor amenity space is considered key to the project. This aims to address the low-quality industrial nature of the existing street scene. At the heart of the scheme the aim is to provide a landscaped pedestrian oasis linked by a series of streets and footpaths. The space will offer high quality hard and soft landscaping. The landscaped areas will be linked to a podium landscaped and upper areas to provide a cohesive multi-level social and cultural experience. The public indoor and outdoor spaces will also act as a multi-use “cultureplex” for cultural and recreational activities – hence reinforcing the initial concepts of creating a “little city” or as the name invokes – a Citadel.
The residential development will provide high quality aspirational living. Apartment types are primarily located to maximise the views to the Mediterranean and the Bay of Gibraltar and boast generous, well designed outdoor living areas. The apartment types range from one to five-bedroom apartments and studios with the focus on larger apartments and a low number of studios. Some of this will be aimed at local families looking for larger apartments and a foothold in Gibraltar. The residential facilities will include leisure, fitness and lifestyle facilities. This may include a gym, swimming pool areas and landscaped outdoor amenity areas at different levels. Residential block heights range from 14 – 30 storeys.
The team is at advanced stages of negotiation with a number of international hotel operators aspiring to establish a presence in Gibraltar. It is anticipated the style of hotel will be contemporary, modern business-aimed and is thought the hotel will have a total of circa 300 bedrooms, 72 of which would be designed as aparthotel rooms for longer stays, as well as several other amenities across 14 storeys. It is anticipated minimal parking will be required for the hotel as the majority of guests are unlikely to arrive by car and a shuttle bus services will be provided from the border, airport and town.
COMMERCIAL & RETAIL SPACE
The majority of the ground and first floor throughout the site will feature a range of commercial and retail units, creating active glazed facades surrounding the central social spaces and pedestrian galleries. Their design will be flexible and adaptable in nature to suit a range of potential incoming tenants in order to provide a diverse destination including; retail, restaurants/cafes, experience/event spaces and cultural spaces. It is anticipated that the roads within the scheme will be pedestrianised to provide a unique, safe and welcoming central outdoor plaza onto which the commercial space will and surround.
A high-quality office facility is to be included as part of the scheme. This will be A-Grade office space with a central core providing a number of flexible configurations from whole floor occupation to smaller units and include a coworking hub across 14 storeys. It is anticipated meeting and conference facilities may be provided linked to the hotel.
The design takes inspiration from nature and given that the Rock is a dramatic backdrop and key feature for this project we believe it is apt that our design pays homage to the Rock formations both on the Rock face and within the Rock – bringing the inspiring forms from the inside out. We specifically took inspiration for the design from the mineral formations that can be found in Saint Michael’s Cave in Gibraltar. The stalactites and stalagmites that have been formed over millennia to create an enigmatic landscape with a very powerful language.
The proposed buildings and other elements of the design follow the organic forms in St. Michael’s Cave formations, which gives its name to the proposed development, St Michael’s Citadel. Our design ambition for St Michael’s Citadel is to bring the iconic, organic language of rock formations from inside the Rock to the outside.
The second and important part of the name is Citadel is – a combination of towers and fortresses – paying homage to Gibraltar’s military history and in particular the military history of the area. The primary meaning of Citadel however is “little city” – our goal is to create a sustainable hub reflecting this.
We are delighted to form a part of what is the changing journey and face of the northern area of Gibraltar and aim to propagate a much-needed urban regeneration of what will be the new thoroughfare and gateway into Gibraltar.