Soar Island Competition

You don’t need your passport

Leicester is a vibrant, multi-cultural city that has a lot to offer its residents. One aspect where it cannot compete with other UK cities however is its lack of water front public realm. With Leicester being the furthest city from the sea in the UK, this should be a priority.


‘Costa Del Soar’ aims to use Soar Island to create this missing piece of urban fabric. The island will use its location to its advantage and become a beach and heated lido in the summer and in the winter it will transform into an ice rink with the additional possibility of a blustery walk on the beach. The boardwalks allow temporary installations and entertainment to take place, while the new café will provide welcome shelter. A new ‘race’ is created through the island which enables the fast flowing water to create electricity, which would in turn help to
power a heat pump.


‘Costa Del Soar’ will be connected to its surroundings by a series of new bridges.  These will link the proposed new housing developments to the city and to the neighbouring green spaces and can be used to access the beach, pools and café. We envisage these walkways becoming a destination in their own right where people can come to be spectators of the public using the facilities below. The existing trees on the island will be maintained and the bridges will pass through their canopies at high level, creating a new vista of the island.


In summer the heat created would warm the lido and the electricity produced will assist with filtration. Cool air will be used in the café which is housed in one of the existing cement works towers. The excess heat would be stored in another of the existing cement works towers. The water for the lido would be taken from the river, and cooled again before being returned to the river.


In the winter ‘Cost Del Soar’ it will be transformed into a winter wonderland when the lido becomes an ice rink. The heat pump will produce mainly cold energy, to be used to freeze the ice rink. The small amount of heat produced would be used to heat the café.

In essence, the island will become a retreat from the city in both summer and winter, creating the much needed water-front that Leicester requires. We believe that the novelty of this idea will also attract people from outside the city and ‘Costa Del Soar’ will become a destination worth travelling to. The new connections will create invaluable new infrastructure for the future development of the area.


Location: Leicester

Date: 2015