Townshend Landscape Architects were appointed by British Land in 2014 to develop a Landscape Masterplan to reinvigorate the public realm at Paddington Central in Central London through a series of phased public realm projects; Kingdom Street and Kingdom Square formed the second major phase of these works.
When the project to develop the design of Kingdom Street commenced, the landscape was dominated by hard landscaping, with a central carriageway and raised planters clad with a dark grey stone along each side; Kingdom Square at the western end of the site had a temporary landscape which was to be replaced by a permanent scheme.
The proposals created a linear garden along Kingdom Street in space created by realigning the carriageway along one side of the space. A series of rooms were created in the spaces between each building with each space being given an individual identity aligned to their function. Kingdom Square became the terminus to the scheme with a central open lawn surrounded by new planting. Office staff are encouraged to use the external spaces by offering seating, activities, site wide Wi-Fi and USB charging points.
Trees and specimen shrubs provide scale through their height and form and create a sense of enclosure along the walk. These are under-planted in a naturalised style, using a number of planting matrices to emphasise a range of textures and colours and to ensure a continuity of interest throughout the seasons.
The yorkstone footpath winds its way through the planting which spills out over its edges enhancing the lush sense of verdant greenery. Bespoke timber seats are located along the path. The carriageway is paved in warm tones of granite setts to create a visual cohesion with the rest of the landscape. Reduced vehicle speeds are promoted by reducing the carriageway width where possible, introducing flush kerbs and creating a portion that is a single lane, requiring vehicles to take turns to pass along its length.
Three garden rooms are created at the ends of Kingdom Street; The Games Room with stepped timber seating facing the table tennis tables, The Reading Room with tall planting creating enclosure and seating embedded into the planter edges, and The Kitchen Garden with herb planting. These spaces extend the amenity and activity opportunities of the landscape.
Kingdom Square forms the terminus to Kingdom Street. A central lawn is used for informal recreation, and organised events including Yoga, music and pop up food stalls. Planting around the perimeter creates an attractive edge to the Square and is a visual connection to the planting and character of Kingdom Street. Pocket spaces are defined by planting including a barbeque and firepit which acts as a spill out space for Number 4 Kingdom Street.
Design Process (Additional information)
Townshend Landscape Architects were appointed to work on the concept design through to the preparation of technical design information for construction, including the planting design and monitoring of the onsite delivery. The practice worked closely with British Land to ensure that the proposals could meet their aspirations for identity and use of the wider campus.
Built above an existing slab structure, the design was constrained by limitations on loadings and depths. Once the concept had been approved, the scheme was developed in Revit to be BIM compliant and to ensure that the stepping profile of the slab was accommodated, that the movement joints could continue to work effectively without being intrusive and that surface water drainage could be located appropriately.
Responsibilities- Concept Design, planning information, technical design, site monitoring. Lead designer. Principal designer until tender.
Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’
Hydrangea ‘Lanarth White’
Rosa Susan Williams-Ellis
Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis
Viburnum plicatum ‘Rotundifolium’
Herbaceous planting included:
Aster frikartii ‘Monch’
Geranium cantabrigiense ‘Saint Ola’
Geranium phaeum ‘Raven’
Heuchera sanguinea ‘Alba’
Iris barbata media ‘Blue Boy’
Perovskia ‘Little Spire’
Viola ororata ‘Konigin Charlotte’
Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’
Tulipa orphanidea whittalli
Images © Townshend Landscape Architects