The Entec landscape design team approached the project by embracing the concept of ‘softer landscapes through sustainable design’. The design seeks to integrate challenging new sustainable design treatments, while attempting to re-define how commercial public realm spaces are perceived. The scheme re-defines two spaces enveloping four office buildings, and provides a positive link to the nearby St. Katherine’s Dock.
The largest open space introduces a series of raised, rolling lawns retained by timber and gabion cages filled with the granite setts, marble and concrete slabs excavated from site. The integration of a new type of paving block announces the entry spaces and provides movement and legibility throughout the spaces by a directional band which includes ground LED lights.
The secondary space, which inhabits a shadier position, integrates a grid pattern of raised gabion planters, again filled with re-used site materials, and topped with sustainably sourced oak timber seaters. Black steel climber posts add a vertical emphasis. Honeysuckle and ornamental grasses add movement, texture and seasonal, scented flowers to the courtyard.
The delivered landscape is one of refinement and softness. The large lawn features combined with the gabions, timber walls and seats, create a garden feel, which is intrinsically more appealing to the users (and potential new tenants) than the former hard and windswept landscape spaces.
The key message of the scheme is that corporate and commercial public realm landscapes can be soft and innovative in both function and form. There has been a precedent for the widespread use of polished granite cladding, metal and glass to represent ambition and success in both commercial architectural and public realm design. The scheme challenges this preconception by creating a softer, welcoming and comforting landscape which celebrates sustainability as an aesthetic in itself. For these challenging economic times, in which we increasingly value a more compassionate and sensitive approach, this scheme seeks to embrace these values through softer forms, material re-use, sensitive interventions and refined bespoke detailing, which push sustainable landscape ideas to the top of the conceptual agenda.
Approximate Map Location
AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment and Infrastructure UK Limited
|Type of scheme|
Commercial / public realm
Transformation oftwo connected public spaces surrounding anoffice complex in order to create a warmer and softer external environment for office workers and the public.
Lead Landscape Architect: Entec | Lead Design Consultant for the development: Pringle Brandon | Engineer: Long and Partners | M & E: MJL | Project Management: Davis Langdon
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Paving - Kelen Zuidtangent blocksFSC-sourced oak timber seats and retaining wallsGabion retainer walls filled with reclaimed on site granite setts, marble and concrete slabs
Carpentry: Bramhall 1840 | Hard Landscaping: Hardscape | Planting: Tacchi nurseries
Entec adopt its bespoke sustainable landscape design checklist for the delivery of all landscape projects. The Thomas More Square project afforded opportunities to integrate extensive re-use of on-site materials through the innovative incorporation of gabion cages. These quirky low wall features replaced the inadequately small, polished granite clad planters. By increasing the use of soft landscaping through lawns and planting areas, the quality of the micro-climate and surface water run-off credentials of the spaces have been extensively improved. The inclusion of the FSC-sourced oak timber seats and raised walls allowed for the refined carpentry detailing to be shown off.
Main Contractor: Chorus | Landscape Contractor: Calabasas