The project is a mixed use regeneration of a prime riverfront site on Douglas’s Quayfront marina, in the capital town of the Isle of Man. The scheme wraps around from the arrival point of the main ferry terminal and acts as a wayfinding device to Douglas’s high street and marina.
The site is sensitive, neighbouring a local Conservation Area leading to the old town area of Douglas. The scheme comprises a seven-screen cinema, 80 key hotel, 20 new apartments and around eight retail or restaurant units, which focus their aspect on the marina. The scheme is built on a former carpark, which has been re-provided. The new development is intended to cater for the new business clientele associated with the gaming industry, which is a major source of employment on the Isle. With a close to 80,000 population, the Isle of Man is lacking in leisure facilities, such as cinemas, branded restaurants, or major hotels.
The design of the scheme is intended to echo the movement of boats and sails with the winds and tides – the rhythm of the angled panels in windows means the building appears to shimmer. The pastel pink of these panels contrasts against the lighter brick frames, a playful nod to traditional pale blue, yellow, pink of typical quayside properties. This is joined by a light grey/cream brick, which is almost reminiscent of stucco in older buildings in the area
The Hotel element of the scheme concludes in a circular rotunda element, a deliberate reference to the Tower of Refuge ¬– a castle built on a rocky island off the Isle of Mann’s coast to give the crews of numerous shipwrecks a place to swim to, to await rescue. The slotted windows in the circular end point also reference the traditional sliced windows slots of castles. There is an information facility under the rotunda of the hotel.
The cinema element forms the end of development where it meets the high street. The seven screens of the cinema are double-stacked over three storeys, to maximise the small footprint of the site.
The scheme offers excellent facilities for local people, bringing life and nighttime activity back to the marina – and introducing a variety of uses throughout the day, to create a sense of arrival for visitors to Douglas.
The mix of uses will bring activity back to the marina, through a building which is both elegant and restrained. The experience of uses are brought together in a contemporary but considered building form which also uplifts the value of the site.
Douglas, Isle of Man IM1
Kane Capital Limited
We were aware that we had a challenging brief for our site in Douglas, given the range of uses it needed to accommodate as well as the sensitive surrounding context. We were impressed with Aros’ ability to take all of our complex requirements and present a strategic vision for the whole site which was also commercially viable. They really rose to the challenge and through the course of the project, we developed a strong working relationship and trust in the Aros team. We were very happy with the outcome and delighted to receive planning permission for the project in February 2019.Conor Bradley, Kane Capital Limited