When complete, Maribor Park will link Woolwich Town Centre and the River Thames, providing the community with extensive opportunities for recreation and play within a lush, verdant landscape

    Maribor Park, Royal Arsenal Riverside, Woolwich, London

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    Receiving ‘Highly Commended’ for the Planning Awards 2020 in the Heritage in Placemaking category, Royal Arsenal Riverside is one of South East London’s most exciting riverside addresses. It sits at the heart of Woolwich, which is rapidly emerging as one of London’s bright spots; occupying prime location along the River Thames and offering a buzzing retail hub.

    Maribor Park aims to provide a bold, new green space, providing a link between Woolwich Town Centre and the River Thames. The park, when fully complete, will serve the wider community with extensive opportunities for recreation and play within a lush, verdant landscape. The park itself takes the form of a green spine, its linear form reflecting the industrial history of the immediate area and its strong association with the rope-making industry. Central to this green spine, is a water feature that visually links the park together.

    Why was Hardscape brought in?

    A key design component of the water feature was a number of stone inclusions that would direct the water’s flow, act as informal play elements for children, and be visual elements in their own right. Gillespies, along with Fountains Workshop, settled early on Prima Porphyry, due to how it reacts with water, its huge amount of character, and its variety of colour tones.

    To achieve the design intent of the team, each stone would need to be selected individually to achieve the narrative across the park that the client wanted, and ensure the colour and composition of the stones arrangements was just right. Hardscape facilitated for the client and designer a visit to a quarry, allowing them to select the stones, set them, and managing the tagging of each piece.

    Specifications

    They key specifications were colour and character. The vision was for the Prima Porphyry pieces to change from smaller oxide/buff pieces in the Source, and progress to larger grey/blue pieces in the Delta and Terraces.

    Individuality

    Each stone within the water feature was individually selected and set out on in the quarry to ensure their colour and composition would achieve the design intent. These were then brought to site, re-set out as in the quarry, and then rejigged on site within the water feature to ensure the best possible effect with the stones and water feature itself.

    Without the materials selected, the project simply would not be what it is. The Prima Porphyry was key to defining the character, look and feel of the Source and act as the element that will ultimately link the park together when it is fully complete.

    Challenges

    As noted, the main challenge faced was that the design team had very specific requirements for the size, look and character of the Prima Porphyry inclusions. Finding a supplier who could involve the team as much as they needed to be to achieve their design vision was critical to the project’s success.

    Hardscape helped by giving the design team access to the specific quarries, allowing them to spend as much time as they needed to select and set out the stones, and providing advice along the way on what they would be able to achieve with the material. Hardscape was an integral part of the team and the project’s ultimate success.

    End result

    The Source provides the first piece of a new, high-quality green space for the residents of Royal Arsenal Riverside and the wider Woolwich neighbourhood. By creating a public space for relaxation, play and delight, it will set the standard for the rest of the Park’s development.

    ‘The design process we used for the water feature was atypical for Gillespies. Rather than doing a set of drawings and then simply having the contractor build off of them, the design team, Hardscape, and client worked together throughout the design, procurement and construction process.’

    Ryan Coghlan, Principal Landscape Architect, Gillespies LLP

    Materials used

    Prima Porphyry (Grey and Violet mix) paving and stepping-stone inclusions for the water feature; Magma and Royal White granite paving.

    Client: Berkeley Homes; Landscape Architects: Gillespies; Landscape Contractor: Elite Landscapes; Water Feature Contractor: Fountains Direct; Water Feature Designer: Fountains Workshop; Engineers: RSK; Paving Materials Supplier: Hardscape

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