The landscape architect designs have transformed the bleak podium deck of a London office building into a lush ‘sky/sculpture gardens.

David Blackwood Murray's designs for the sky garden at 99 Bishopsgate. Copyright: David Blackwood Murray
David Blackwood Murray's designs for the sky garden at 99 Bishopsgate. Copyright: David Blackwood Murray

Client Brookfield Multiplex appointed Pringle Brandon Perkins Will as architect for the £1m project at 99 Bishopsgate, which was completed over 16 weeks (between May and August) by Willerby Landscapes. The brief was to transform the existing gravel podium deck at level 5, to create a green roof which celebrates a traditional English London garden.

A series of gardens within gardens now gives occupants and visitors a unique view of the surrounding City of London skyline.

The building was designed by GMW Architects in the mid 1990s and has now been refurbished for office rental.

A particular challenge, says Blackwood Murray, was the limited access to the roof areas for construction, and restrictions on the structural loading capacity of the existing concrete slab.

‘The combination of lightweight manufactured soils at minimum depths allowed the introduction of broad lawns, perimeter hedging and seasonal planting of English lavenders, rosemary, roses and herbaceous planting,’ he said. Pleached hornbeam, multi-stem Amelanchier, Prunus and Malus spp (crab apple) were positioned in deeper soil over existing  structural columns in the building.

A fully automatic drip-line irrigation system ensures all year round aftercare. The gardens includes sculptures by Eilis O’Connell and a dramatic after-dark garden lighting scheme.

Another feature of the project, adjacent to the main reception entrance lobby, is a giant evergreen bamboo garden which, according to Blackwood Murray, was inspired by the bamboo garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

Blackwood Murray is also landscape architect for Brookfield’s adjacent property, 100 Bishopsgate, on which he is working with Allies & Morrison/Woods Bagot.

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